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VOA English Newscast: 1600 UTC November 5, 2015

Relatives mourn next to a coffin of Alexei Alexeev, a victim of a Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt, during a funeral ceremony at the Bogoslovskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 5, 2015.
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From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Ira Mellman reporting.

Signs are pointing to a terrorist attack against a Russian passenger plane.

British officials say evidence points to the detonation of an explosive device as the cause of Saturday's mid-air breakup and crash of a Russian jetliner after it departed Sharm el-Sheikh airport in the Sinai bound for St. Petersburg, Russia. All 224 people on board the plane perished on the Metrojet A-321. Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond spoke after meeting with his government's crisis response committee:

"We believe there’s a significant possibility that the aircraft could have been brought down by an explosive device."

Experts are also examining the wreckage in the Sinai desert for any signs of terrorism, while some reports say forensic examinations have revealed shrapnel in some of the victims.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the disaster, but has so far yet not presented any firm evidence to back it up.

Top U.S. diplomats say 85 to 90 percent of Russian airstrikes in Syria have hit moderate Syrian rebels, not Islamic State targets.

Assistant Secretary of State Anne Patterson was among those giving that assessment in testimony Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Despite our urging, Moscow has yet to stop the Assad regime’s horrific practice of barrel bombing the Syrian people. So we know Russia’s primary intent is to preserve the regime."

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters that less than 10 percent of Russian airstrikes in Syria are targeting the Islamic State group.

Russian diplomats and military officials contend the air attacks are aimed at Islamic State extremists.

During Wednesday’s hearing, committee chairman Ed Royce said Russia is taking a “decisive role in shaping Syria’s future, and not in a helpful way.”

This is VOA News.


Words in This Newscast

plane – n. short for airplane

detonation – n. explosion

depart(ed) – v. to leave

bound – adj. going to

on board – adj. carried or happening on a vehicle

perish(ed) – v. to die

response – n. something that is done as a reaction or in answer to something else

significant – adj. major; important

aircraft – n. an airplane, helicopter or other flying machine

forensic – adj. involving the use of scientific knowledge to solve crimes

reveal(ed) – v. to show or make known

shrapnel – n. small pieces or metal

assessment – n. the act of making a judgment or forming an opinion about something

testimony – n. statements made in a court of law

despite – prep. without being prevented

regime – n. a government or system of government

practice – n. a custom; something that is done again and again

barrel bombing – n. the use of low cost explosive devices

primary – adj. leading or main

preserve – v. to save and protect

role – n. the part that something has in an activity or situation