Russia plane 'broke up in air', bodies flown home from Egypt


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A Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt broke up "in the air", an investigator said, as the bodies of many of the 224 people killed on board were flown home.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged patience to determine the cause of Saturday's crash, after the Islamic State jihadist group (IS) claimed it brought down the A-321 in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula.

"The disintegration happened in the air and the fragments are strewn over a large area," said Viktor Sorochenko, a senior official with Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee, quoted by the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti from Cairo.

Sorochenko, who is heading an international panel of experts, said it was "too early to draw conclusions" about what caused the flight from the Red Sea holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to Saint Petersburg to crash.

Late on Sunday, a Russian plane carrying 162 bodies of those killed left Cairo for Saint Petersburg. Russian officials said it was expected to land at around 0200 GMT.

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