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Senior U.S. Officials Suspect Terrorist Bombing Was Behind Russia Airbus A321 Crash Over The Sinai Peninsula

by Therese Agcopra / Nov 09, 2015 08:43 AM EST
People mourn the victims of the Russian Airbus A321 crash at Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersberg. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)

Several senior officials in the United States are growing more confident that a terrorist bomb downed Russian Metrojet Flight 9268, which caused the death of 224 passengers and crew members as the plane broke apart over the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31.

The belief that a bomb caused the crash is based largely on British and U.S. intercepts and communications from Islamic militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) Sinai affiliate to the group's operatives in Syria, CNN reported Sunday.

ISIS' Sinai affiliate also publicly insisted on social media that they are responsible for the crash of Airbus A321. CNN noted that the group is quick to reveal how they carried out their attacks to gain praise and raise propaganda. The fact that no explanation for how it was done has been released casts doubt on the group's claims.

U.S. Intelligence also suggested the possibility of someone at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport planting a bomb onto the plane. An official said the airport reportedly has "lax security", CNN wrote Thursday.

U.S. Senator and vice chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Dianne Feinstein that there is a "strong probability" that a bomb explosion caused the crash. Sen. Feinstein cited as evidence a "flight data recorder and the voice recorder that records something that could be an explosion."

Egyptian officials are currently in charge of the plane crash investigation, led by Ayman al-Muqaddam.

Muqaddam said they have not been provided any information relating to speculations suggesting that a bomb caused the crash.

However, the assessment is not conclusive since it is only based on intercepted communications and not forensic evidence.

"The assessment is far from conclusive," a U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal. "Lots of questions remain about how this went down, if it was an attack."

Metrojet Flight 9268 was en route to St. Petersburg, Rusia from the Red Sea resort in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt when the crash happened. 

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