MOSCOW, November 18 (Reuters) - A bomb that downed a Russian plane in Egypt in October had been placed in the aircraft’s main cabin and not in the cargo compartment as reported earlier, the daily Kommersant said on Wednesday citing an unnamed source.
The newspaper, citing a source close to the investigation of the crash, said the epicenter of the explosion appeared to have been at the rear of the cabin near the tail section.
“According to a preliminary version, the bomb could have been laid under the passenger seat by the window. Its operation has led to the destruction of the frame and depressurization of the cabin, which had an explosive character,” the newspaper said.
All 224 people on board were killed. President Vladimir Putin vowed on Tuesday to hunt down those responsible and intensified air strikes against militants in Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that the murder of Russians aboard a passenger plane that had crashed over Egypt’s Sinai was equivalent to an attack on Moscow.
“The terrorist act in the Sinai Peninsula was an attack on Russian citizens, which is equivalent to an attack on the state,” Lavrov said.
Moscow’s actions will be based on Article 51 of the UN Charter, which implies the right of any state for collective self-defense in case of an attack upon it, he said.
It will step up all efforts available to protect itself, he added.
Lavrov said that “the right to self-defense will be implemented by all available means – both political and military, and through special services, intelligence, and so on.”
Russia has offered $50 million reward for information leading to the arrest of terrorists behind the downing of the A321 plane.
The Russian top diplomat said Moscow had already received intelligence data on the deadly A321 crash from foreign partners.
“With regard to a concrete response in connection with possible evidence, data, and information about where people might be in one way or another involved in this terrorist act, they have been already partially received from [foreign] special services,” he said.
“Of course, this information cannot be made public for obvious reasons,” Lavrov said.