Egypt to send Russian plane recording abroad for analysis

A recording from Russian Airbus A321 which caught a sound before the plane disintegrated in midair will be sent abroad for analysis, Egypt's civil aviation minister was quoted as saying Friday.

It was not immediately clear which country would receive the copy of the black box recording to analyse one of the key clues of the investigation into the October 31 disaster, which killed all 224 on board.

Several governments including Britain and Israel believe the plane was most likely downed by a bomb on board after it took off from the airport of the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Islamic State group which commands an affiliate in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula claimed it destroyed the plane, without providing details.

The Airbus was manufactured in Germany, with a French design, and its engine was built in the United States.

An Egyptian-led investigative committee had announced that a sound was caught by the black box just before the disaster, but it said further analysis was needed.

"This sound will be analysed with specific equipment that is not available in most countries," Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal told state newspaper Al-Ahram in an interview published on Friday.

"The last seven minutes of the black box recording will be sent to one of the countries that manufactures airplanes and that has this equipment to analyse this sound and its cause. The original recording will not be transported."

The incident prompted Russia to impose restrictions on flights to Egypt, and Britain to Sharm el-Sheikh.

The restrictions have dealt a severe blow to Egypt's tourism industry, a main revenue earner, and have been denounced by the Egyptian government which has said the cause of the incident has yet to be determined.

"The investigation has not yet arrived to a conclusion on the cause of the incident, and all scenarios are still open," said Kamal.

"Some countries and Western media have created this strange atmosphere… in that we were surprised by this quick and fierce media campaign pointing to a terrorist act without proof," Kamal said.

"The matter appears as if it were a conspiracy against Egypt for objectives unrelated to the incident," he added.

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