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Egypt Allocates EGP 175 Million to Boost Airport Security

Egypt Allocates EGP 175 Million to Boost Airport Security

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By Aswat Masriya

The Egyptian Holding Airport and Air Navigation Company activated a security check plan in airports nationwide at a cost of EGP 175 million on the heels of the Kremlin’s announcement that the ill-fated Russian jet was downed in Sinai in an alleged act of terrorism.

The plan involves renewing and replacing the airport radiation scanners for passengers, cargo, luggage, parcels and even vehicles.

Russia confirmed last Tuesday that the Metrojet-operated charter flight heading from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Pertersburg was brought down by a handmade bomb. Based on Russia’s Federal Security Service’s specialist assessment, an explosive device with the equivalent of 1 kilogram of TNT led to the midair breakup of the A321.

All 224 passengers and crew, redominantly Russian holidamakers, were killed on board leading to enhanced scrutiny of Egypt’s airport security precesses.

International news outlets ran stories of occasions when travellers paid security personnel inside Egypt’s airports to go avoid security checks and jump queues.

General Mahmoud Kamel, assistant to the airoport company’s president, said that there are plans to replace and renew all electronic machines and devices used for security checks at airports.

Kamel added that security personnel will be trained by either the interior ministry, airport companies or EgyptAir to use the newly installed devices.

As a precautionary measure, the UK has suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh and changed it’s travel advice “against all but essential travel” to the resort city. Russia, too followed suit, suspending all flights to Egypt until measures are taken to ensure travellers’ safety. It has also banned flights by national carrier EgyptAir from landing in Moscow and announced Wednesday that 90,000 of its residents have been evacuated, with the last remaining 2,500 to be repatriated on Nov. 30.

Islamic State affiliates in Egypt have twice claimed responsibility for downing the plane and on Wednesday, in a 66-page long issue of ISIS rag Dabiq, the group featured a fizzy drink can with the caption “EXCLUSIVE – Image of the IED used to bring down the Russian airliner” along with passorts of some of the pasengers who were killed which the group allegedly picked up from the debris.

Following the crash, the UK and Russia sent their experts to Egypt to inspect Sharm el-Sheikh airport security, which Egyptian officials continued to describe as in line with “international standards.”

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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