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Airliner Crash Complicates Migration Wave to Europe


Refugees and migrants try to reach the shore on the Greek island of Lesbos, despite a rough sea, after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey, Oct. 30, 2015..

Refugees and migrants try to reach the shore on the Greek island of Lesbos, despite a rough sea, after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey, Oct. 30, 2015..


Intelligence officials are questioning the security at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport in Egypt.

And investigators say they suspect the crash of an airliner that took off from Sharm el-Sheikh was caused by a bomb onboard.

A Russian Metrojet airliner bound for Russia crashed and killed all 224 people onboard 20 minutes after leaving Sharm el-Sheikh airport. The crash happened Saturday.

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the crash. That claim is unproven. IS says it retaliated against Russian military action in Syria.

Russia has bombed targets in Syria since late September to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia says it targets IS terrorist camps.

The Russian presence is expected to continue. It could escalate in response to the suspected airline bombing.

Experts say Russia also hits non-IS targets, such as Syrians fighting against Assad.

The director of the Kurdistan Regional Government's intelligence agency said, “Their support role of Assad is very clear."

U.S. fighter planes help support Syrian fighters on the ground against IS in the northeastern part of Syria, U.S. Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday.

European Union member countries say they worry about Middle East tensions and terrorism moving into their countries through immigration. Refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Africa and other countries surge into Europe through Turkey and Greece.

The International Organization for Migration estimates 700,000 migrants have made their way to Europe this year. The river of migrants over land and sea started in 2015. Those refugees and migrants come from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

The EU announced a plan Oct. 25 to accept 160,000 migrants. But only a fraction of the migrants and refugees have been registered officially. Many are wandering and without shelter.

EU nations launched a program to relocate migrants from Greece to other countries. On Wednesday, 30 Iraqi and Syrian migrants flew from Athens to Luxembourg.

Critics say it will not lessen the huge number of people arriving in Europe waiting to be registered and relocated.

Pawel Swidlicki is from the policy group Open Europe. He says many European governments are reluctantly involved in the program in the first place.

I’m Caty Weaver.

This story appeared on VOANews.com. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

What do you think of the difficult situation involving Russia, Syria and IS? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section or on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

airline – n. a company that owns and operates many airplanes which are used for carrying passengers and goods to different places

fraction – n. a part or amount of something

river – n. a large flow of something

retaliation – n. the act of doing something bad to someone who has hurt you or treated you badly

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