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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – Egypt's foreign minister complained on Saturday that Western governments had not sufficiently helped Egypt in its war on terrorism and had not shared relevant intelligence with Cairo regarding the downed Russian airplane that crashed last week in the Sinai, killing 224 people.
Sameh Shoukry, speaking at a press conference, said that "European countries did not give us the cooperation we are hoping for."
Egypt's past calls for assistance and coordination on terrorism issues from "the countries that are now facing the danger" had not been dealt with seriously, he said.
Shoukry also complained that Western nations that have cancelled flights to Sharm el-Sheikh did not share with Cairo the relevant intelligence upon which they based their decisions. U.S. and British officials have cited intelligence reports as indicating that the Russian flight from the Sinai resort town to St. Petersburg was brought down on Oct. 31 by a bomb on board. Shourky told reporters that Egypt, "expected that the information available would be communicated to us instead of being broadcast" in the media.
Shoukry's comments came as Egypt launched an internal investigation into the staff and ground crew at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport, according to multiple Egyptian security and airport officials.
The officials told The Associated Press Saturday that authorities were questioning airport staff and ground crew that worked on the Russian flight and had placed some employees under surveillance. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Saturday's crash dealt another blow to Egypt's battered tourism sector, which is yet to fully recover from years of political turmoil. Russians comprise nearly a third of all tourists who visited Egypt in the past year.
Islamic State extremists have claimed that they brought down the Russian Metrojet flight. Egyptian authorities have been trying to whip up support for a war on terror after the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. A crackdown on Islamists and a series of militant attacks on security buildings and checkpoints, mainly in the restive Sinai Peninsula, have followed Morsi's ouster — with a Sinai based affiliate of the Islamic State group claiming responsibility for some of the most devastating attacks.