Russia: ‘Act of terror’ possibly behind jet crash in Egypt

U.S. sources also said Russian officials believe the Sinai plane was brought down by a bomb

Published: Updated:

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev admitted Monday that a plane crash in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula that killed 224 people was possibly a terrorist attack.

“The possibility of an act of terror is of course there as the reason for what happened,” he said in an interview to Rossiyskaya Gazeta state newspaper, parts of which were published Monday evening.

Meanwhile, Russian officials monitored by U.S. intelligence believe the plane that crashed in Sinaiwas brought down by a bomb, U.S. sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

FBI offer rejected

Another U.S. government source said neither Russia nor Egypt has accepted an offer from the FBI to assist them in investigating the crash. The FBI has offered “forensic assistance” and other unspecified services to both Russia and Egypt, said Joshua Campbell, an FBI spokesman.

Egypt and Russia have yet to formally announce the cause of the crash. Both countries were upset by the Western bomb assessments published last week, which spurred a wave of foreign flight cancellations to Sinai’s Red Sea resorts.

Israel also said on Monday there was a “strong probability” that the Russian airliner was the result of an attack.

Israel has strong intelligence links to the neighboring Sinai, where the Airbus came down on Oct. 31 while en route from Sharm el-Sheikh to Saint Petersburg.

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon spoke about the crash to local journalists and his spokesman confirmed the comments to AFP.

“There is a strong probability that this is an attack,” Yaalon said. “From what we know and what we understand, I would be surprised if it turns out that it was not an attack.”

ISIS’s branch in the Sinai claimed responsibility after the crash and said it downed the plane in retaliation for Russian air strikes in Syria, but it has not said how.

Britain and the United States, as well as international investigators, suspect a bomb exploded on board, but Egyptian officials insist there is no evidence yet of an attack on the plane.

(With AFP, Reuters)