Egypt: No evidence that terrorism caused a Russian jet crash

Egyptian investigators say they have so far found no evidence that terrorism caused a Russian jet to crash in the Sinai in October, killing 224 people.

The plane came down en route to Russia from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

A group linked to so-called Islamic State (IS) said it bombed the plane. Nearly all the victims were Russians.

Russia has said a bomb brought down the Metrojet Airbus, after finding what it said were “traces of foreign explosives” on the debris.

It has vowed to “find and punish” the perpetrators. In response to Monday’s findings, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov re-iterated that “our experts concluded this was a terrorist attack”.

Russia suspended all flights to Egypt in the wake of the attack, with the UK also suspending flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.

However, the head of the Egyptian committee investigating the crash, Ayman al-Muqaddim, was quoted by state TV on Monday as saying there was “no evidence that there is an act of terror or illegal intervention”.

IS-affiliate Sinai Province said it had destroyed the plane because of Russian air strikes on Syria.

Last month IS’s magazine published a photo of what it claimed was the improvised bomb that brought down the airliner.

The picture in Dabiq showed a Schweppes Gold soda can and what appears to be a detonator and a switch.

The crash has dealt another blow to Egypt’s vital tourism industry, already struggling after years of unrest. Egypt’s tourism minister told Reuters earlier this month that tourism revenues for 2015 will be at least 10% below last year’s.