A mechanic working for EgyptAir is suspected of planting a bomb aboard the Russian passenger jet that crashed shortly after take-off in the Sinai in October 2015, killing all 224 passengers and crew members on board.
Unnamed sources quoted by Reuters said two airport policemen and a baggage handler were also detained and interrogated on suspicion of helping the mechanic put the bomb on board.
The airline denied that any of its employees are suspects; Egypt has not cited terrorism as the cause of the crash of the Russian Metrojet plane.
“After learning that one of its members had a relative that worked at the airport, Islamic State delivered a bomb in a handbag to that person,” one of the sources is quoted by Reuters as saying, adding that the suspect’s cousin joined Islamic State in Syria a year and a half ago.
“He was told to not ask any questions and get the bomb on the plane.”
Another source said: “Two policemen are suspected of playing a role by turning a blind eye to the operation at a security checkpoint. But there is a possibility that they were just not doing their jobs properly.”
Meanwhile, a report in an Egyptian paper Friday quoted a government official as saying the country has lost hundreds of millions of dollars since the Metrtojet crash, which crippled the country’s vital tourism industry.
South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda was quoted by the state-run Al-Ahram daily as saying that hotel occupancy in the resort cities of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada stands at less than 20 percent and that the cities are losing nearly 2 billion Egyptian pounds (more than $250 million) each month.
Russia suspended all flights to Egypt and Britain halted flights to Sharm el-Sheikh after the Oct. 31 crash.
The Islamic State group claims that it planted a bomb onboard and Moscow has concluded the plane was downed by an explosive. But Egypt claims it is still investigating the cause.
AP contributed to this report.