One of the key routes of Egypt’s lucrative tourism industry, Sharm El-Sheikh’s airport suffered a major blow with last week’s bombing of a Russian airliner, and with suggestions that an airport employee actually smuggled the bomb on board for ISIS. The one-off incident may not have been the first sign the airport was unsafe, however.
British officials are now confirming an incident in August in which a British airliner with another 189 people on board narrowly managed to dodge a missile fired at it after taking off from the same airport, and that intelligence suggested there was a likely ISIS presence at the airport itself.
A swift turn of the plane by an alert first officer managed to dodge the missile, and the passengers of the flight were never told how close they came to being shot out of the sky. Only five members of the crew were told of the incident, and US and British officials kept it under wraps until this weekend.
Egypt’s junta is heavily dependent on tourism, and that industry was only just starting to recover after the 2013 military coup and the brutal crackdown that followed. It seems, then, that Western officials were eager to bury the missile report for the junta’s sake, and are only now grudgingly admitting to it, as the questions about safely in Sinai become increasingly dire.
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