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Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt, October 31, 2015. The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, carrying 224 passengers crashed into a mountainous area of Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday shortly after losing radar contact near cruising altitude, killing all aboard.
Reuters/Stringer
Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of the Russian airliner.
POP

Investigator “90% sure” a bomb took down that Russian jet in Egypt

By Marc Bain

Two sides have emerged over the investigation into what brought down Russian Metrojet flight 9268, which crashed in Egypt on Oct. 31, killing all on board. While US and UK officials now believe a bomb was responsible, Egypt has refused to concede that it was an act of terrorism.

But an investigator told Reuters that they are “90% sure” it was indeed a bomb that caused the crash, which claimed the lives of 224 passengers, including 17 children.

“The indications and analysis so far of the sound on the black box indicate it was a bomb,” an Egyptian member of the investigation revealed to Reuters, asking not to be named. “We are 90 percent sure it was a bomb.”

While ISIL has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the plane appears to have broken up in mid-air, it hasn’t been immediately clear what caused the plane to come apart. The new statement is the most certainty that’s been publicly offered thus far.

If the belief is eventually confirmed, it would likely mean more trouble for Egypt’s tourism industry, which peaked in 2010 just before the revolution the following year. Popular tourist attractions have been the target of suicide bombings, but despite such incidents, officials have maintained that resort areas, such as Sharm-el-Sheikh, the location where flight 9268 departed from, are safe.

Tourism is a major source of income for Egypt. It accounts for more than 11% of GDP in the country, and Russians are the largest group of visitors. The victims of the crash were predominantly Russian vacationers.