Egyptian military: Oil slick and EgyptAir 804 debris found and verified

Yesterday’s claim that wreckage from missing EgyptAir 804 turned out to be premature and incorrect. Earlier this morning, the Egyptian military announced that it had positively identified debris from the Airbus in another location, 180 miles off the coast of Alexandria in the Mediterranean Sea. Both CNN and NBC report that personal belongings of the passengers have already been recovered:

Egypt’s military said it found debris in the Mediterranean Sea Friday from the missing EgyptAir passenger plane.

Families of the 66 people on board Flight MS804 have been waiting in anguish for news following 24 hours of conflicting information and rampant speculation over what happened to the aircraft.

Egyptian army spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir said on his verified Facebook page Friday that his military’s search planes and vessels had discovered parts of the Airbus A320 — along with some passengers’ belongings.

The military is certain the debris comes from Flight MS804, Samir told NBC News by phone, adding that all wreckage will be brought back to Egypt for investigation.

The question now will be how the plane crashed. Thus far, the main suspicion is a terrorist attack, especially given the lack of communication and the way the plane went down. That is still a suspicion, though, not an established fact, and won’t be known for at least a few days while retrieval of the wreckage and the flight recorders takes place.

CBS notes that the crash “raises questions about Egyptian security,” although the flight took off from France. So far, it’s been a bad year for Egyptian air travel:

“This has nothing to do with Egyptian airport security,” the government spokesman told CBS’ Holly Williams, and that much seems correct. Any questions about airport security in relation to this incident should be directed at France, which already insists that its airport was secure prior to the flight. If it’s a terrorist act, so far the terrorists are remaining quiet about it, when normally they would make claims of responsibility within hours of the attack. ABC also asks why a “half-empty, red-eye” flight was targeted rather than a more heavily booked flight later in the day:

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It may take a very long time for these questions to find answers.

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