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Explosive traces found on EgyptAir 804 victims

CAIRO: Traces of explosives have been found on victims’ remains from an EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean in May killing all 66 people on board, Egypt’s Aviation Ministry said Thursday.
An official investigative committee which made the discovery has referred the case to Egypt’s state prosecution, it added in a statement.
Under Egyptian law, the prosecution takes over “if it becomes clear to the investigative committee that there is criminal suspicion behind the accident,” the ministry said.
EgyptAir MS804 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean.
Investigators have determined that a fire broke out in or near the cockpit of the Airbus A320 before it crashed between Crete and the coast of northern Egypt.
France’s air safety agency BEA reacted with caution to Thursday’s announcement in Egypt.
“In the absence of detailed information on the conditions in which samples were taken and measures which led to the detection of traces of explosives, BEA does not consider it possible at this stage to draw conclusions on the origin of the accident,” a spokesman said.
France’s Foreign Ministry said “the investigation will continue to determine the exact causes,” while the plane’s manufacturer Airbus said it had not been informed of the Egyptian findings and refused to comment.
French investigators have favored the theory of a technical fault.
A lobbyist for French victims of attacks and accidents poured scorn on the Egyptian findings. “We are being manipulated,” said Stephane Gicquel. “No substantiated element points to terrorism. This is blackmail on the part of Egyptian authorities… to protect the company EgyptAir by placing responsibility on Paris.”
Thursday’s announcement comes while Cairo is still investigating the October 2015 crash of a Russian passenger plane in the Sinai Peninsula of eastern Egypt. Daesh claimed responsibility for bombing the Airbus A321 Russian plane that crashed after takeoff from a Sinai resort headed for St. Petersburg, killing 224 passengers and crew.