US, UK say bomb may have brought down Russian jet

Both US and UK claim Sinai plane crash triggered by explosive device as formal results of investigations have not been received

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Russian officials visit the crash site of a Russian passenger plane that went down in Egypt, killing all 224 people on board Saturday.[AFP]

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

Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed Saturday in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, leaving all 224 passengers dead on board as it was en route to St. Petersburg from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Earlier on Wednesday Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK halted all flights that were scheduled to take off from Sharm el Sheikh to Britain while a security investigation was started.

"While the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed," Cameron's office said in a statement.

"But as more information has come to light we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.”

Following the Prime Minister’s statement British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said late on Wednesday that  there is a "significant possibility" that the Russian jet was brought down by an explosive device on board the aircraft.

Shortly after the claim, a spokesman for the office of the British prime minister supported the idea saying that the plane "may well have been brought down by an explosive device."

Just a couple of hours later, a US official, familiar with the issue based on the latest US intelligence said that a bomb which was planted on the plane by DAESH and its affiliates was most likely what led the crash.

"There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane," the official said as the formal investigations had not been completed.  

The black boxes which were found in the country's Sinai Peninsula also signed possible exterior factors on Wednesday thus there was unusual sounds before the moment of the crash.

"Before the moment of the disappearance of the aircraft from radar screens, sounds are recorded which are not characteristic of a normal flight," Interfax quoted from an unnamed security source in Cairo.

The news comes a day after US intelligence detected a "heat flash" aboard the crashed plane. A US infra-red satellite reportedly detected the "heat flash" and an official said the US intelligence community believes the heat wave could have been the end product of an explosion within the plane, possibly that of a fuel tank or a bomb.

The US provided satellite imagery also ruled out a surface-to-air missile attack, debunking DAESH's claim that it downed the plane with such a missile.

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.

"We exclude technical problems and reject human error," Alexander Smirnov, an official at the airline, said in a news conference in Moscow, as he discussed possible causes of the crash. "The plane was in excellent condition," he added.

However , Both Egyptian and Russian authorities have strongly dismissed claims by DAESH’s affiliate, which said that any rocket claims by DAESH were nonsense.

"When there is propaganda that it crashed because of ISIS [DAESH], this is one way to damage the stability and security of Egypt and the image of Egypt," said the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi.

The fighting between DAESH and the Egyptian security forces have taken place many times in Sınai Peninsula of Egypt, leaving hundreds of people dead.

Following the Russian air strikes reportedly against DAESH in the country, tension has escalated the in the region.

TRTWorld and agencies