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US Intelligence: Metrojet A321 Likely Brought Down by Extremists

© AP Photo / Suliman el-Oteify, Egypt Prime Minister's Office via APThis image released by the Prime Minister's office shows the tail of a Metrojet plane that crashed in Hassana Egypt, Friday, Oct. 31, 2015
This image released by the Prime Minister's office shows the tail of a Metrojet plane that crashed in Hassana Egypt, Friday, Oct. 31, 2015 - Sputnik International
According to unnamed US intelligence officials speaking to CNN, the latest intel suggests that Metrojet Flight 9268 was likely brought down by an explosive device planted by ISIL or an ISIL affiliate.

"There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane," the officials told CNN's Barbara Starr. "The feeling is that the explosive device somehow got by Sinai officials," Starr added.

Russian Airbus A321 passenger airliner crash site in Egypt - Sputnik International
UK Not Ruling Out Crashed Russian Airliner Brought Down by Explosive Device

The new assessment is based on intelligence reports collected prior to Saturday's incident. While there was not necessarily indication of a specific threat before the crash, the official said "there had been additional activity in Sinai that had caught our attention."

The official stressed, however, that no formal conclusion has yet been reached.

A separate US official indicated to CNN that the IS hypothesis is based on monitoring of internal messages from the terrorist organization.

Earlier on Wednesday, the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron made similar statements.

"While the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed," Cameron's office said, according to CNN. "But as more information has come to light we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device."

The UK's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also concurred.

"We have concluded that there is a significant possibility that the crash was caused by an explosive device on board the aircraft," he said, according to Reuters.

While Sharm el-Sheikh airport officials stressed that airspace is safe, a number of countries have banned flights through the region as a matter of precaution, most recently Ireland.

Flight recorders of Russian A321 plane that crashed in Sinai - Sputnik International
Analysis of Black Box Recorders Says Engine Explosion Caused A321 Crash

Following Saturday's crash, the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group did take responsibility for the attack, but did not reveal any evidence to confirm those claims. Security experts also questioned whether IS had the capability of bringing down a passenger jet from the ground.

US intelligence chief James Clapper had earlier indicated that it was unlikely that the aircraft could have been brought down by IS, but "I wouldn't rule it out."

Also on Wednesday, the the Egypt-led commission investigating the crash stressed that any speculation concerning the cause of the crash were not based on concrete evidence.

The Airbus A321 crashed on Saturday while en route to St. Petersburg. All 224 people on board were killed. The Egyptian authorities are currently leading the investigation, with Russia, Ireland, and France also taking part in the probe.

On Wednesday, White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told Sputnik that US satellite data on the plane crash is an intelligence matter.

"I won't get into the intelligence issues," he said when asked if the US would share satellite data with Russia.

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