'Act of terror' possibly behind plane crash: Russia

2015-11-09 19:52
Crashed Metrojet plane. (AFP)

Crashed Metrojet plane. (AFP)

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Moscow - Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev admitted on 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 on Monday evening.

Britain and the United States, as well as international investigators, suspect a bomb exploded on board the A321 plane chartered by a Russian tourism firm, but Egyptian officials insist there is no evidence yet of an attack on the plane.

Russia had previously  kept from blaming the October 31 crash on terrorists.

Earlier in the day, Israel said there was a "strong probability" that the Metrojet airliner crash was the result of an attack.

Israel has strong intelligence links to the neighbouring Sinai, where the Airbus came down on October 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 spokesperson 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."

The Islamic State group'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.

If ISIS was behind the attack, it would be the first time the jihadists, who control large areas of Syria and Iraq, have hit a passenger plane.

The ISIS affiliate in Egypt is waging a bloody insurgency in north Sinai that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.

Read more on:    isis  |  israel  |  russia  |  egypt  |  air crashes  |  air travel

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