Egypt denies missile fired near UK passenger plane (Photo : MEMO)
Egypt denies missile fired near UK passenger plane (Photo : MEMO)

Kairo, 26 Muharram 1437/9 November 2015 (MINA) – Egypt’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday denied allegations by a British newspaper that a missile fired by the Egyptian army came close to striking a plane full of British tourists in August.

The Daily Mail reported on Friday that a Thomson Airways flight en route from the U.K. had come within 1,000 feet of a rocket – fired, the paper alleged, by the Egyptian army – as the plane approached the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh in August.

“Preposterous allegations by MailOnline regarding U.K. plane ‘avoiding Egyptian missile’ in August are completely inaccurate,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid tweeted. Middle East Monitor (MEMO) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

He went on to assert that the Egyptian and British governments were both fully aware that the passenger plane “was in no danger”.

“Airliners previously informed of military exercise & told of procedures,” the spokesman said.

The Daily Mail claimed the pilot had taken “evasive action”, thus avoiding the missile and landing safely.

“The pilot was in the cockpit and saw the rocket coming towards the plane. He ordered the flight turn to the left to avoid the rocket, which was about 1,000 feet away,” the newspaper quoted an unidentified source as saying.

The U.K. Department of Transport, for its part, has said a subsequent investigation had concluded that the incident did not constitute a “targeted attack”.

Thomson Airways, for its part, said there was “no cause for concern” regarding future flights.

The newspaper’s allegation comes one week after a Russian passenger plane crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.

Several western countries have since suspended their flights to Sharm el-Sheikh amid reports the plane may have been brought down by a bomb.

Egyptian investigators have said that analysis of the cockpit voice recorder revealed a “noise” in the final second of the recording.

“A spectral analysis will be carried out by specialized labs in order to identify the nature of this sound,” Ayman al-Muqaddam, the head of an official accident investigation committee, said in Cairo on Saturday.

Egyptian officials, meanwhile, have blamed the crash on a technical malfunction.

Both the U.S. and U.K. governments, however, have not ruled out terrorism as a possible cause of the disaster. (T/P002/R07)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)