CAIRO: International passengers departing Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh continued to line up for flights on Sunday, as the first of three teams of Russian inspectors was dispatched to the country to examine airport security following last weekend’s airline disaster.
The Russian flight’s crash in the Sinai Peninsula that killed all 224 people onboard continues to generate fallout, after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for its downing and U.S. and British officials say intelligence shows it was likely brought down by a bomb on board. Britain and several airlines have stopped normally scheduled flights to the resort, while Russia has suspended all travel to Egypt because of security concerns.
Egyptian authorities have bristled at the allegations of lax security, with some blaming an anti-Egypt bias in the foreign media. Those sensitivities were on display Sunday as foreign camera crews were prevented from filming inside the Sharm el-Sheikh airport, along the city’s main tourist strip in Naama Bay, or in other public spaces.
Meanwhile, The Mideast’s biggest airline — Emirates — said it was reviewing its security procedures in Egypt, but remains committed to maintaining flights to Egypt, calling it “an enormously important market.”
In Russia, mourners packed into the landmark St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg for a memorial service for the victims.
Russian authorities did not give details on what specific security issues the inspections teams would be examining.
Britain’s foreign secretary said that if it is confirmed that the plane crash was caused by a bomb, then airport security in many cities will need to be overhauled.