CAIRO -- Flaming debris from the midair breakup of a military fighter jet Sunday rained onto a rural hamlet near Luxor, the site of some of Egypt’s most celebrated ancient tombs and temples. One person was killed on the ground and two were hurt, officials said.
The pilot of the Russian-made MiG-21, which was on a training flight, managed to eject and parachute to safety. Egyptian army spokesman Col. Ahmed Ali blamed a “sudden malfunction” for the crash, but gave no details.
The Ahram website quoted Luxor’s security director as saying that fiery wreckage plummeted onto agricultural fields and village homes, killing a farmer and some livestock and injuring two villagers.
The Obama administration last week said it was suspending deliveries of U.S. 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, Islamist Mohamed Morsi, and a subsequent harsh crackdown on his followers. The F-16 is the mainstay of Egypt’s air force, but the military still has some older Russian-built craft.
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.
It was also the site of a 1997 massacre of tourists by Islamist militants, in which nearly 60 people were killed, most of them foreigners. Morsi caused an outcry earlier this year when he appointed a founding member of Jama’a Islamiya, which carried out that attack, as governor of Luxor.