Early intelligence reports indicate that a plane crash over the weekend in Egypt’s Sinai was caused by a bomb, a United States official told the Associated Press on Wednesday afternoon.
A Russian plane carrying 224 people crashed in the Sinai Saturday while traveling between the sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh and St. Petersburg. Everyone on board was killed.
Concerns arose almost immediately after the crash as to whether the plane was shot down. A source told Reuters the plane was not struck from the outside and the pilot did not make a distress call. Speaking with a Russian television station, the director of the Intergovernmental Aviation Committee, Viktor Sorochenko, said the plane was destroyed while mid-air, leading others to question if it may have had a bomb on board.
The United Kingdom and Ireland announced they were suspending flights to and from the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday afternoon over safety concerns following the destruction of the plane, the U.K. prime minister’s official spokesperson and the Irish Aviation Authority said.
“While the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed,” the U.K. spokesperson said Wednesday. “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.”
David Cameron was to host an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss the crash and safety precautions. Those attempting to fly from Sharm al-Sheikh to the United Kingdom will experience delays as authorities work to provide more security.
Groups affiliated with the Islamic State militant group took responsibility for the attack online, saying it was retribution for Russian airstrikes in Syria. Their claim was not substantiated and Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said it “can’t be considered accurate.”