- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The latest U.S. intelligence reportedly suggests that a bomb, possibly planted by a member of the Islamic State or one of its affiliates, brought down a Russian passenger jet in Egypt on Saturday, CNN reported.

“There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane,” a U.S. official familiar with the matter told CNN.

The official stressed that there has not been a formal conclusion as to the cause of the crash reached by the intelligence community.

Officials said they do not believe that the explosive device was meant to make it past airport security at Sharm el-Sjeikh.

The assessment was reached, the official said, by looking back at intelligence reports that had been gathered before Saturday’s plane crash and intelligence gathered since then.

Another source told CNN the intelligence connecting the Islamic State group to the bomb is in part based on monitoring of internal messages of the terrorist group. Those messages, however, are separate from public claims of responsibility the group made over the weekend.

The source added that the U.S. did not have credible or verified evidence of a specific threat prior to the crash, but said “there had been additional activity in Sinai that had caught our attention.”

Another U.S. official told NBC that U.S. investigators are focusing on Islamic State operatives or sympathizers as the possible culprits. 

Investigators are reportedly looking at the possibility that an explosive device was planted on board the plane by ground crews, baggage handlers or other ground staff at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport before takeoff, NBC reported

On Wednesday the UK and Ireland grounded flights to and from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh airport citing concerns that an explosive device may have downed the plane.

Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed Saturday after breaking apart in midair, killing all 224 people aboard.

 

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