Flash was detected as Russian jet broke apart, U.S. military officials say

The New York Times reports: American military officials said Tuesday that satellite surveillance had detected a large flash of light just as a Russian chartered jet broke apart and fell from the sky over the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 people aboard.

The United States military is not part of the multinational investigation into the crash, but officials said the satellite images were the first indication that the plane had exploded, because of either a bomb or the ignition of a fuel tank. But it will probably take several more days for the authorities to better understand what occurred.

The disaster has set off waves of hand-wringing in Egypt, Russia and elsewhere about whether mechanical failure, human error or terrorism was the cause. But here in the resort area where the plane took off minutes before the crash, thousands of sun-seekers from Russia and other European countries arriving daily say they are undeterred. Most have already written off the possibility that the crash was terrorism. [Continue reading…]

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