Obama claims ‘possibility’ of bomb on airliner caused crash

US President Obama claims 'possibility' of bomb on board of Russian airliner downed in Egypt, amid concerns on DAESH’s affiliate may have been responsible for Russian plane crash

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

US President Barack Obama on Thursday said that the “possibility” of a bomb on board the Russian airliner - flying over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula - that crashed is very likely, agreeing with British PM David Cameron.  

Earlier on Wednesday, officials from the United States and the United Kingdom said that their intelligence dwelled the possible terror rampage on Saturday’s Russian plane crash in Egypt’s Sinai, being the result of a planted bomb on board.

Obama said in an interview with KIRO/CBS News Radio, that was quoted on CNN, "I think there's a possibility that there was a bomb on board. And we're taking that very seriously."

"We're going to spend a lot of time just making sure our own investigators and own intelligence community find out what's going on before we make any definitive pronouncements. But it's certainly possible that there was a bomb on board," he said.      

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 tourists from Britain were stranded at Sharm el Sheikh since Wednesday, after all flights to and from the UK were suspended as a part of a massive security clampdown.

The decision to  cancel all flights came after the latest intelligence indicated that the Metrojet airliner may have blown apart by an explosive planted on board.

Following the declaration, British officials launched an emergency plan to evacuate thousands of holiday-goers, who were trapped in the popular holiday resort.  

Security measures at Sharm el Sheikh had been increased, piling up scores of armed police officers with bulletproof vests and heading all vehicles to the terminal.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also said on Thursday, it is increasingly likely that a bomb resulted the Russian plane crash over Egypt killing 224 lives on board.

Cameron, who hosted Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al Sisi on Thursday for a previously scheduled visit, said that "we cannot be certain that the Russian airliner was brought down by a terrorist bomb, but it looks increasingly likely that was the case."

He also called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi to discuss about how “the tightest possible security arrangements” have been made.    
His Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said it was "a significant possibility" that DAESH was responsible, given a range of evidence, including the claim of responsibility by the group.

Egyptian airport security under scrutiny

Egyptian authority insisted on Thursday, its airports were safe as well as secure to international standards, amid concerns that airport screening procedures may be distorted and that DAESH’s affiliate may have downed a Russian plane by planting a bomb on board.

In the meantime, DAESH's affiliate in Egypt, Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) refreshed its claim that was made by the group following the accident, posting an audio message on their social media accounts.

"Find your black boxes and analyze them, give us the results of your investigation and the depth of your expertise and prove we didn't do it or how it was downed," the group said in the message.

"Die with your rage. We are the ones with God's blessing who brought it down. And God willing, one day we will reveal how, at the time we desire," it added.

Kogalymavia or Metrojet, is a small Russian airline where officials stressed that it was in excellent condition, and only an "external factor" could have caused the crash.

Egyptian and Russian officials have responded that it is too early to conclude a bomb blast had brought down the plane.

The Egyptian civil aviation minister Hossam Kamal said in a statement," all Egyptian airports apply international standards in airport security measures," adding that the investigation was ongoing.  

Egypt has struggled to attract tourists visiting the country since the 2011 uprising that ended former president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, leading to a period of political instability.

Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, won Egypt's first presidential election following the uprising, but Sisi, then army chief overthrown him from office in 2013 through a military coup after a mass protests. Sisi later banned the Muslim Brotherhood, detained thousands and continue to crack down on violent Sinai turmoil.

The Muslim Brotherhood says it is not connected to Sinai-based DAESH’s affiliates who have claimed responsibility for the plane crash. 


TRTWorld and agencies