Russia’s Federal intelligence agency on Tuesday claimed that the Russian airliner Airbus A321 was brought down by a homemade bomb in a terrorist act. 224 people were killed when the passenger plane crashed over Egypt on October 31. Federal Security Service (FSB) has now announced USD 50 million reward for the information leading to capture of those responsible.
Addressing his cabinet and senior military and intelligence officials in Kremiln, President Vladmir Putin has vowed to hunt down those responsible for the attack.
“According to our experts, a homemade explosive device equivalent to 1 kilogram of TNT went off onboard, which caused the plane to break up in the air, which explains why the fuselage was scattered over such a large territory,” Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB reported to President Putin on Tuesday.
“I can certainly say that this was a terrorist act,” Bortnikov added in his report.
Responding to the findings, the Russian President said “we’re going to look for them (attackers) everywhere, wherever they are hiding. We will find them in any place on Earth and punish them.” He also ordered Russia’s foreign ministry to contact all Moscow’s partners for assistance and said that it was counting on “friends” to help find and punish those responsible for the plane attack.
President Putin also pledged to ramp up Moscow’s bombing campaign in Syria in response to the attack but stopped short of blaming any one group.
A group linked to the terror syndicate Islamic State (IS) earlier claimed responsibility for the attack in a written statement, as well as video and audio messages posted on the Internet following the crash. Russia had halted all flights to Egypt following the crash last month end.
On its part, the IS said that attack was in retaliation to Russia’s air campaign against IS and other groups in Syria, where Moscow wants to preserve the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. The group had even “warned” Russian President Putin that they would also target him “at home” but did not offer any details to back its claim.
The confirmation of the deadly attack comes days after a chain of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 129 people in Paris and shortly after Putin returned from discussing the Syria conflict with world leaders at the G20 summit in Turkey.
(With inputs from the Agencies)