ISIS suspected of bombing Russian jet, but little evidence cited in support of this claim

The Daily Beast reports: Wittingly or unwittingly, British authorities have triggered a sudden blizzard of assertions that the Russian Airbus A321 that crashed in Egypt was brought down by a bomb on board. Until 10 Downing Street, apparently acting on their own initiative, decided to send their own aviation security experts to the airport at Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh to “assess” the level of security, British and American intelligence agencies were limiting the chance of a bomb being the cause to a “possibility.”

The Brits have provoked, within hours, a chorus of endorsements that terrorism was involved, but without any single piece of definitive evidence to prove it.

Stopping prudently just short of such evidential confidence, 10 Downing Street said “we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed. 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.”

Reports by CNN, NBC News, and the Associated Press originally cited a single, anonymous U.S. intelligence official who said that ISIS was involved.

Multiple U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that it was too soon to say definitively that a bomb aboard the airplane was responsible for the crash. But none of them would rule out that possibility, either, and acknowledged that a bomb is one scenario that intelligence agencies have been considering since the day of the crash.

“Intelligence officials are starting to lean that way,” a U.S. official told The Daily Beast of the bomb scenario.

Notably, the intelligence so far that tends to support the theory of a bomb has been technical in nature, including intercepted communications from within terrorist groups and indications from satellites of some intense heat signature at the time of the crash — possibly from an explosion. [Continue reading…]

The Independent reports: An “engine explosion” is thought to be the most likely cause of the Russian plane crash in Sinai on Saturday which killed 224 people, according to Egyptian and Russian media reports.

Investigators have been carrying out preliminary analyses of the Metrojet Airbus 321’s two “black box” flight recorders since Tuesday morning, though damage to the equipment has slowed their progress.

But while an initial assessment of the evidence on the cockpit voice recorder seemed to show noises “uncharacteristic of a standard flights” just before the plane disappeared off radar screens, a first look at the other recorder has thrown up an explosion of the engine as the main lead.

That’s according to a source close to the investigation, the Egyptian Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reported. The source also said that the possibility of a catastrophic blast on the engine was first thrown up by an analysis of debris at the crash site. [Continue reading…]

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