'90%' Chance That Bomb Hit Russian Plane

Investigators, officials are in agreement
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2015 6:40 PM CST
Investigator '90% Sure' of What Downed Russian Plane
A woman takes part in a memorial religious service for plane crash victims at the St.Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015.   (AP Photo/Elena Ignatyeva)

Looks increasingly like last week's horrific Russian plane crash in Egypt—which killed all 224 passengers and crew—was caused by a bomb. An Egyptian investigator tells Reuters that his team is "90% sure it was a bomb" but refused to explain the uncertainty. "The indications and analysis so far of the sound on the black box indicate it was a bomb," he says. His team's top investigator, Ayman al-Muqaddam, said yesterday that the plane was apparently on auto-pilot when it broke apart on its route from an Egyptian tourist resort to St. Petersburg on Oct. 31. A last-second noise heard on the cockpit recorder could have been a bomb, he said, unless it was metal fatigue, overheating batteries, or a fuel explosion.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that a top US official calls the bomb theory "99.9% certain" and another says it's "likely." And Rep. Peter King, who helms the Homeland Security subcommittee on terrorism and intelligence, tells the New York Times that "right now all the evidence points in that direction." That would jibe with a claim from the Sinai affiliate of ISIS that it brought down the plane, and ISIS chatter picked up by the US and Britain to that effect, though US officials say such chatter is pretty typical. Regardless, Russia and Britain have already repatriated thousands of tourists from Egypt as a precautionary measure. And thousands of people in St. Petersburg have attended a service for the victims at St. Isaac's Cathedral, where the bell rang 224 times, CBS News reports. (More ISIS stories.)

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