Egyptian warplane crashes over major tourist city

Egyptian warplane crashes over major tourist city
Sun Oct 13, 2013 22:47:31

An Egyptian military fighter jet has crashed in village near the tourist city of Luxor, killing at least one person and injuring two more, local officials report.

Flaming debris from the midair breakup of an Egyptian jet fighter on Sunday rained onto a rural community near Luxor, the site of some of Egypt’s most celebrated ancient tombs and temples.

The pilot of the Russian-made MiG-21 aircraft, which was reportedly on a training mission, managed to eject and parachute to safety.

Egyptian army spokesman Col. Ahmed Ali, meanwhile, blamed a “sudden malfunction” for the crash but did not elaborate.

The Cairo-based al-Ahram website quoted Luxor’s security director as saying that the fiery wreckage plummeted onto agricultural fields and village homes, killing a farmer and some livestock and injuring two villagers.

The development comes as the Obama administration announced last week that it was suspending deliveries of American F-16 fighter jets and other military hardware in response to the Egyptian military’s July ousting of the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi and a subsequent harsh crackdown on his followers.

The F-16 is currently the backbone of Egypt’s air force, but the military still maintains a number of older Russian-built war planes.

Luxor, 450 miles south of Cairo and home to such famed pharaonic sights as the Valley of the Kings and the Karnak temple complex, was the scene in February of the crash of a tourist hot-air balloon, which left 19 people dead.

The city was also the site of a 1997 carnage of tourists by militants, in which nearly 60 people were killed, most of them foreigners.

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