CAIRO, Egyptian officials said no evidence has been found that terrorism caused a Russian jet to crash in the Sinai Peninsula in November, disputing claims by Russian authorities.
The Metrojet Flight 9268 airliner crashed on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people aboard, including 17 children. The plane departed from the Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport en route to St. Petersburg, Russia, but contact with air control was lost within 23 minutes.
Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said they have “so far not found anything indicating any illegal intervention or terrorist action.”
The Kremlin said it would not comment on Egypt’s assertions Monday.
Russia said the plane was brought down in a terrorist attack. Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, said the aircraft was equipped in the cargo hold with a handmade explosive with the equivalent of 2.2 pounds of TNT.
A branch of the Isis operating on the Sinai Peninsula posted messages to social media immediately after the crash, claiming to have shot down the jet. Both Russian and Egyptian officials said at the time they didn’t believe those claims to be credible since the plane wasn’t shot down.
The following month, the Islamic State magazine published a photo of what it said was the improvised explosive device that downed the plane.
The bombing came weeks after Russia launched an airstrike campaign in Syria, targeting both rebels in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad and IS militants. The crash has dealt a blow to Egypt’s struggling tourism industry, with revenues expected to be down 10 percent compared to last year.