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Russia ISIS bombardment increases

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AWARD: Vladmir Putin has put a bounty on the heads of the people responsible for the plane bombing last month

AWARD: Vladmir Putin has put a bounty on the heads of the people responsible for the plane bombing last month

Action stepped up as investigators confirm ISIS blew up tourist jet

Russian President, Vladimir Putin has put a £33 million (US$50 million) bounty on the heads of those responsible for the bombing of a Russian tourist flight from Egypt.

The reward was announced after the country confirmed that a homemade bomb took down Metrojet flight 9268, last month, killing all 224 holiday-makers travelling from Sharm al-Sheikh to St Petersburg.

The terrorist organisation, ISIS, claimed responsibility for the blast.

Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov said that on Tuesday alone, Russian air force flew 65 sorties. Among the targets destroyed were eight command centres, eight armouries, four plants for making explosives and six fuel storage tanks.

Russian aircraft also launched 34 cruise missiles, destroying 14 terrorist targets.

As the country stepped up its bombardment of ISIS forces in Syria, Putin announced his determination to obliterate the militant Islamist movement.

He said Russians would not dry their tears until they find and punish those responsible.

“This is not the first time Russia experiences barbaric terrorist crime. We remember everything and everyone. We will search wherever they may be hiding. We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them,” said a resolute Putin.

He also ordered long range bombers to double the volume of airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and told a navy cruiser to coordinate operations with French naval forces in the Mediterranean.

“By conducting military missions in Syria, you are protecting Russia and her citizens,” Putin told his military chiefs. “Our air campaign in Syria must not only be continued, it must be boosted, in such a way that the criminals are made aware that retribution is inevitable.”

France also stepped up its attacks on ISIS targets in Syria after the organisation carried out a brutal attack in Paris leaving more than 130 dead and more than 350 wounded.

France also called on other countries to join a military coalition against the terrorist organisation.

In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has said that it is his “firm conviction” that Britain should extend its airstrikes against ISIS targets from Iraq to Syria, as he announced plans to return to Parliament for a vote to support British military action in Syria.

In Egypt, authorities arrested two employees at Sharm al-Sheikh airport.

Al-Jazeera journalists to face charges

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Three journalists from Al-Jazeera are still being detained by prosecutors in Egypt on suspicion of the group using unlicensed equipment, broadcasting false news and possessing fake footage.

Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste were detained on 29th December. In a statement, issued by the Egyptian prosecutors, they said that the journalists had been gathering material with the intention of tampering with it so as to not truly reflect reality.

Al-Jazeera could broadcast ‘fabricated footage that had nothing to do with reality’ according to the authorities who have held the men for more than three weeks.

DETAINED: (l-r) Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste were detained on the 29th December

DETAINED: (l-r) Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste were detained on the 29th December

The prosecutor continued by adding that the network had the “objective of distorting Egypt's image abroad, damaging its political standing, and making the international public believe that the unreal footage showed what was happening in Egypt and that the country was witnessing a civil war.

“This aims to serve the objectives of the international organisation of the terrorist group and provoke the international community against Egypt,” they added, apparently referring to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In its statement, Al-Jazeera said: “Our detained team had been working in Cairo for some time and people can still watch their work online.

“It was all of the highest journalistic standards and integrity, as has been all our output since the start of the momentous events in Egypt three years ago.”

Upon the detainment the network had requested the immediate release of its staff yet to date nothing has come to fruition.

The broadcaster has urged the Egyptian authorities ‘to take heed’ of calls by international media organisations for the release of its journalists.

A letter signed by more than 40 editors and journalists earlier this week appealed for an end to their ‘arbitrary imprisonment’ and said the arrests had ‘cast a cloud over press and media freedom in Egypt’.

The current Egyptian ruling have long believed that Al-Jazeera are in support of opposition party, Muslim Brotherhood, and therefore may be frowned upon in such a case as this.