Russia

US intelligence agencies have suggested the possibility of ISIS or its affiliated groups planting a bomb on the Russian plane that crashed in Egypt on 31 October.

US president Barack Obama also hinted at the bomb angle, even as the Russian government denied such claims.

In an interview with Seattle radio station KIRO Obama said: "I think there is a possibility that there was a bomb onboard, and we are taking that very seriously."

"We are going to spend a lot of time making sure our own investigators and our own intelligence community figures out exactly what’s going on before we make any definitive pronouncements.

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"But it is certainly possible that there was a bomb on board."

UK prime minister David Cameron endorsed the claim with the country temporarily suspending flights to Egypt over security concerns.

"The plane crash in the Egyptian peninsula of Sinai killed all 224 passengers onboard, most of them returning to Russia after a holiday at a resort."

The Russian president’s office said in a statement that Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation on the crash.

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The statement said: "Vladimir Putin stressed that assessment of the causes of the crash should be based on the data that would become available in the course of the official investigation that is currently underway."

The plane crash in the Egyptian peninsula of Sinai killed all 224 passengers onboard, most of them returning to Russia after a holiday at a resort.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident, saying it brought down the plane in response to Russia’s intervention in the Syrian war.

Both Russian and Egyptian authorities rejected ISIS’s claim. Egypt’s civil aviation minister said investigators have found no evidence so far that an explosion onboard brought down the jet.

The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait changed the course of their flights over the route. Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, Qatar Airways and Dubai-based Emirates and Fly Dubai airlines all re-routed their services.

Russian transport regulator Rostransnadzor ordered the Kogalymavia airline, which operated the crashed A321 Airbus, to stop operating all A321 aircraft until it completed auditing the airlines’ civil aviation laws compliance.

The airline regulator also said it was suspending flying certificates for Boeing 737s currently in use in Russia until further notification.


Image: Most of those killed in the blast were returning from a holiday in Egypt. Photo: courtesy of B Simpson Cairocamels / Wikipedia.