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224-Passenger Russian Aircraft Crashes In Sinai

A Russian aircraft carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members has crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, according to Egyptian authorities. The Metrojet flight lost contact with both Egyptian and Russian officials after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Associated Press reports Egypt's Ministry of Civil Aviation has confirmed the crash:

"The statement said search and rescue teams found the wreckage of the Russian passenger jet in the Hassana area south of the restive city of el-Arish, where Egyptian security forces are fighting a burgeoning Islamic militant insurgency."It said the plane the plane took off from Sinai's Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular destination for Russian tourists, and disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes after takeoff."

There has been confusion about the plane's location after its departure from the Egyptian resort city. Russian and Egyptian officials were reporting conflicting information earlier Saturday morning, NPR's Corey Flintoff tells our Newscast unit:

"The confusing part is that the Russians are saying that they lost contact with this aircraft over Cypress, in the middle of the Mediterranean, whereas the Egyptians are saying that they've seen wreckage of it in the Sinai Peninsula. So at this point we don't even know where this aircraft may be."

Flintoff adds that the Russian Aviation Agency says this was a charter flight carrying tourists back from the popular Russian tourist destination spot.

We will update this post as new information becomes available.

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