On Saturday morning a Russian plane crashed into the Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 passengers on board, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Russian Families Mourn

The flight departed from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai and was to arrive in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Russian Embassy in Cairo confirmed the crash on Twitter. Russian state media is reporting that most of the passengers on board were returning from vacation.  

According to AP the flight was chartered by Lufthansa.  A spokeswoman for the airline company informed AP that the company would cease all flights over the Sinai Peninsula until the cause of the crash was made clear.

Egyptian officials stated that the pilot of the flight reported technical issues and requested to make an emergency landing. The plane crashed in an area where the Egyptian army has been battling Islamic insurgents.  

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack, although it is unclear if the group has the capacity to carry out such an attack.

In a written statement European aircraft manufacturer Airbus confirmed that the plane was a Metrojet, Airbus. The plane was manufactured in 1997, and has been operated by the Russian company Metrojet since 2012.

According to AP, Russian governmental officials are investigating the offices of Metrojet.  Russian investigative officers are also questioning employees of the St. Petersburg-based tour agency Brisco. Brisco booked the travel for several of the passengers on board.

Russian and Egyptian officials have promised to work closely together to determine the cause of the crash.  In a press release the Russian government announced that Saturday will be a day of mourning.  

The United States has offered their condolences to both the Russian and Egyptian governments.  During a visit to the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that, "We don't know any details about it, but obviously the initial reports represent tremendous tragedy, loss, and we extend our condolences to the families and all those concerned."

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