British shutdown of Sharm el-Sheikh flights affects 20,000 citizens

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Baku, November 5, AZERTAC

The suspension of flights in and out of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt after the crash of a Russian airliner will affect around 20,000 British travellers who are in the Red Sea resorts of the Sinai peninsula, according to Downing Street.

The UK foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said his government is now advising against all but essential travel through Sharm el-Sheikh airport in Egypt as there is a “significant possibility” that the Airbus that crashed over the Sinai on Saturday, killing all 224 people on board, was brought down by an explosion on board.

The remarks were the strongest yet by an official on the cause of the crash. US officials have also suggested a bomb was planted on the plane by Islamic State (Isis) or an Isis affiliate, according to several media reports citing unnamed sources.

Two US officials and one European official told Reuters that intelligence reporting is leaning toward terrorism as a cause of the crash, but cautioned there was no conclusive proof yet.

The unilateral decision to delay the flights comes as David Cameron and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the Egyptian president, are due to hold talks in Downing Street.

The British government flew additional consular staff to Sharm on Wednesday to help holidaymakers who might be stranded following its decision to halt all flights to the UK pending security checks at the airport.

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