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sharm el sheikh

There is now growing certainty that Metrojet's Irish-owned Airbus A321-200 was blown out of the sky by an explosive device planted in luggage.

Indeed, British prime minister David Cameron said this afternoon that it was "likely" that a bomb caused the tragedy.

Furthermore, there are huge concerns relating to airport security at the tourist hotspot of Sharm el-Sheikh – meaning all British and Irish flights to and from the region have been suspended. 

The move has resulted in some 20,000 people being stranded in the region, although London has said it will begin evacuating people from tomorrow. 

Some 224 people died on board the Moscow-based airline on Saturday morning.

The plane crashed in a remote mountainous part of the Sinai Peninsula 23 minutes after taking off from the resort – where temperature of 28C at this time of year make it an immensely popular winter sun destination for Irish tourists.

Following a similar announcement by Downing Street, the Irish Aviation Authority last night said it had directed "Irish airline operators not to operate to/from Sharm el‐Sheikh Airport, Egypt or in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula airspace until further notice".

Except for three Ukrainians and one Belarusian, all of those on board Flight 7K9268 were Russian. Twenty-five were children.

EmiratesLufthansa, Qatar Airways and Air France have all already stopped flying over the Peninsula, while British Airways pilots were told months ago not to fly in the area below 25,000ft because of the risk of terrorist-lead strikes. 

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A passenger plane carrying an estimated 224 people has crashed in Egypt.

Though all survivors were presumed dead after the plane went down in a "desolate mountain area" in the early hours of the morning, voices have been head from one part of the wreckage, Reuters reports.

"There is another section of the plane with passengers inside that the rescue team is still trying to enter and we hope to find survivors especially after hearing pained voices of people inside," an officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told the news service.

The plane, an Airbus 321 from Russain airline Kogalymavia/MetroJet, reportedly split in two when it crashed.

The tragedy occurred just minutes into the Flight 9268's journey from Russian coastal resort Sharm-el Sheik to St Peterburg.

It took off at 5.51am Cairo time (3.51am in Ireland) and disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes later, Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.     

A report from Russian state news agency RIA Novosti says the crew of the plane had complained of engine problems several times.

The plane was reportedly travelling at an altitude of 9,400m when it vanished from the air traffic radar screens.

Egyptian security officials said there was no indication the Kogalmavia plane had been shot down or targeted with explosives.

Sinai-based militants have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police in recent months, and have also attacked targets in the West.

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