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 A Russian airliner has crashed in central Sinai with more than 200 people on board, the office of Egypt's prime minister has confirmed.

The Airbus A-321 had just left the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg.

Wreckage was found in the Hasana area and bodies removed, along with the plane's "black box". An official described a "tragic scene".

Flight KGL9268 disappeared when travelling at 9,500m (31,000ft).

Egyptian officials said all the passengers were Russian.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an official investigation into the crash, and for rescue teams to be sent to the crash site.

A commission headed by Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov is to leave for Egypt on Saturday afternoon.

A criminal case has also been opened against the airline, Kogalymavia, for "violation of rules of flight and preparation for them", Russia's Ria news agency reported.

The airline, based in western Siberia, operates under the name Metrojet.

Russian authorities say it was carrying 217 passengers, 17 of them children aged between 2 and 17, and seven crew. Most were tourists.

A centre to help relatives of the passengers has been set up at Pulkovo airport, Tass news agency quoted St Petersburg city officials as saying.