Traces of explosives have been found on some of the victims of an EgyptAir flight from Paris that plunged into the Mediterranean Sea in May, killing all 66 people aboard, Egypt’s Civilian Aviation Ministry said Thursday.
In a statement, the ministry said that it was notified by Egyptian investigators and that a criminal investigation into the crash of Flight 804 will be carried out. The statement provided no further details.
There has been plenty of speculation that terrorists may have targeted the Airbus A320, but no group has asserted responsibility.
However, Thursday’s revelation is likely to intensify concerns about Egypt’s aviation security and further damage its sagging tourism industry, an important source of foreign currency.
On Sunday, a suicide bomber killed 24 people and injured 49 during a Mass at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral, the deadliest attack on Christians in years. And two days earlier, a bomb killed six police officers and injured three others on a road leading to the iconic Giza pyramids.
The crash of Flight 804 occurred seven months after a Russian commercial airliner went down in the Sinai Peninsula shortly after taking off from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. All 226 people on board died. The local branch of the Islamic State militant group asserted responsibility for the attack, saying it had planted a bomb on the plane.
That assault prompted Russia to halt all civilian flights to Egypt, while Britain and other nations suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, which accounts for a third of Egypt’s annual tourism revenue.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Sudarsan Raghavan