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IS releases picture of bomb it says downed Russian plane

Islamic State has released a photo of the bomb it says was used to bring down a Russian passenger plane in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board.

The picture was published in the latest issue of the extremist group's English-language magazine, with the caption "Exclusive - Image of the IED used to bring down the Russian airliner."

The picture showed a yellow can of Schweppes Gold and what appeared to be other bomb components.

The extremist group, which has a powerful affiliate in the Sinai, had previously claimed to have downed the plane without offering further details.

Russia's FSB security service said on Tuesday that a bomb brought down the plane.

Most of those on board were Russian tourists.

Egypt said it is still investigating the cause of the crash.

The group also published a picture of what it said were passports belonging to people who died in the plane crash.

It said the attack was to avenge Russia's air campaign against the group in Syria.

The group said it "discovered a way to compromise the security at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport", without providing further details.

It said it initially planned to bring down a plane from one of the countries participating in the US-led coalition that has been striking it in Syria and Iraq. But it says it changed the target to a Russian plane after Moscow began launching air strikes in Syria in September.

Earlier, Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi told Russian president Vladimir Putin that Egypt understands the Russian people's pain. Egypt's presidential spokesman Alaa Yousef confirmed the two leaders spoke by phone in a statement that made no mention of a bombing.

Suspicions that a bomb caused the crash have led to flight cancellations to and from Egypt and dealt a major blow to its vital tourism industry.

The UK banned flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, where the plane had taken off, on November 4. Russia banned all flights to Egypt a day later, and last Friday it banned Egypt's national carrier from flying to Russia.

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