Updated at 4:21pm ET.
US officials say intelligence suggests that the Russian Metrojet flight 9268 that crashed earlier this week on Egypt’s Sinai peninsula was likely brought down by a bomb planted by ISIL, sources told CNN and NBC.
A US official told CNN that “there had been additional activity in Sinai that had caught our attention.” Another anonymous official told the network that the intelligence was partially based on intercepted internal messages between militants. US investigators are focusing on ISIL fighters or sympathizers as the bombers, an official told NBC, and are looking into the possibility that someone from the ground crew at Sharm el-Sheikh airport planted an explosive.
Earlier in the day, UK authorities have delayed UK-bound flights leaving from Sharm this evening, in light of new information that suggested the plane may have been brought down in a terror attack.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said in a statement that while they cannot “categorically” say why the Metrojet Airbus crashed on Sat. (Oct. 31), killing all 224 people onboard, new intelligence has led UK authorities to “become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.”
UK experts are on their way to Sharm el-Sheikh to assess the security risks, the statement says.
Today, Nov. 4, an Egyptian ISIL affiliate allegedly took credit for the crash in an online recording, reiterating its claim from Saturday, which coincided with the anniversary of the group’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State, according to the Associated Press. Russia is conducting airstrikes against ISIL and other rebels who are fighting against government forces in Syria.
Egyptian and Russian officials say that the terror group lacks the capability to shoot down a plane.
Investigators from Russia, Germany and France are all on site of the crash, trying to determine what happened. The plane’s voice recorder is damaged, but experts are still trying to retrieve any information it could contain.
Most of the people onboard the Russian plane were vacationers from Saint Petersburg, including 17 children.