Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: US Embassy tells staff to avoid Sinai Peninsula

The US Embassy in Cairo has instructed its staff not to travel to the Sinai Peninsula as a “precautionary measure.” The warning followed the announcement that heat detected around the crashed Russian jet. Two U.S. officials say American satellite systems detected infrared activity, or heat, around a Russian passenger plane before it hit the ground in Egypt, killing all 224 on board. One of the officials said Tuesday that they have ruled out a missile being the cause because neither a launch nor an engine burn had been detected. The official said the activity could mean many things, including that a plane engine exploded because of a malfunction or a bomb blast. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has dismissed an Islamic State claim of responsibility for downing the jet as “propaganda” and insisted the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula was under “full control”. Militants from the IS-linked Sinai Province group said they had “brought down” the plane to avenge those killed by Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria. But the group did not provide further evidence to substantiate the claim and a video purporting to show the aircraft plummeting towards the ground was widely discredited.



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