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Egypt: No sign yet of 'terrorist act' in Russian plane crash


A member from the Egyptian security forces walks past debris of a Russian plane (AP)

A member from the Egyptian security forces walks past debris of a Russian plane (AP)

A member from the Egyptian security forces walks past debris of a Russian plane (AP)

A preliminary investigation into the crash of a Russian passenger plane has found no indication yet of any "illegal or terrorist act", Egypt's chief investigator has said.

The statement by Ayman el-Muqadam said the investigation committee so far has not found "any evidence" indicating foul play in the October 31 downing of the plane, killing all 224 people on board.

The committee is "continuing its work", it said.

Russia has said an explosive device had been placed onboard the Airbus A321-200 and the Sinai branch of the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility. The crash led Russia to suspend all flights to and from Egypt, dealing a heavy blow to the country's tourism industry.

Mr el-Muqadam said the investigating committee completed its preliminary report on Sunday, which contained all available information that will be further investigated.

He said the search for wreckage extended more than 10 miles from the main crash site and that the committee provided all parties that are part of the investigation, including the insurance company and Russian working teams, the chance to examine the wreckage.

The investigators analysed the plane's 38 computers and two engine computers and are currently checking the technical details of the plane and repairs carried out since it was manufactured in May 1997.

Mr el-Muqadam said the investigation committee made 15 visits to the crash site, and the team was coordinating with the air force to move the wreckage to a safe location in Cairo for further study.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment directly on the Egyptian statement, but told reporters in a conference call: "I can remind you of the conclusion of our experts from the special services, who came to the conclusion that it was a terrorist action."

Aside from a joint technical investigation into the crash by experts from Egypt, Russia, France and Ireland, the Egyptian authorities also opened an investigation into a possible security breach or infiltration by militants of the Sharm el-Sheikh airport staff, security officials have said.

That investigation has focused on baggage handlers, their security supervisors and also personnel involved in aircraft catering, according to the officials.