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EgyptAir crash in Med: Traces of explosives found on victims

No one has claimed responsibility for air disaster, which killed all 66 on board
Investigators have combed through debris recovered from the plane, which crashed in May 2016 (AFP)

Traces of explosives have been found on the bodies of victims from a plane which crashed into the Mediterranean flying from Paris to Cairo in May, the Egyptian aviation ministry announced on Thursday.

An official investigation committee has referred the case to Egypt's state prosecution, the ministry said in a statement.

READ: Egypt's economy reels after plane crash

Le Figaro reported that French investigators found trace levels of the explosive material TNT among the plane's debris but were prevented from further examining it. Egyptian officials deny the allegation.

Audio from the flight recorder mentions a fire on board the plane in its final moments. An earlier analysis of the recorder indicated that there had been smoke in the toilet and avionics bay.

EgyptAir flight 804 disappeared from Egyptian and Greek radar screens while over the eastern Mediterranean on 19 May, apparently without sending any distress call. All 66 people on board were killed.

Suspicions initially fell on militant groups, especially Islamic State (IS), which has previously threatened both France and Egypt. But no one has claimed responsibility for the crash.

In late June, the prosecutor’s office in Paris announced a manslaughter inquiry into the crash.

It said it did not find any links to terrorism and added that the inquiry would be an accident investigation.

France's aviation safety agency has said that the Airbus A320 sent automated messages indicating smoke in the cabin and a fault in the flight control unit only minutes before it disappeared.

According to Egyptian authorities, the flight made a 90-degree left turn, then a 360-degree right turn before it crashed into the sea.

Onboard were 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, two Iraqis, two Canadians and citizens from Algeria, Belgium, Britain, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, including a boy and two babies, as well as seven EgyptAir crew and three security personnel.

In October 2015 a Russian airline was bombed while flying over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.

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