Obama: It’s ‘possible’ Russian plane was downed by bomb

November 6, 2015  

President Barack Obama said Thursday that it’s possible a terrorist bomb brought down a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula last Saturday, but stressed it is too early to determine that for a fact.

“I think there’s a possibility that there was a bomb on board,” he was quoted by CNN as having said in an interview to a Seattle-based station.

Obama said, however, the current intelligence isn’t definitive enough to say exactly what felled the aircraft and noted that security procedures in place in the region were different than in the United States.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time just making sure our own investigators and own intelligence community find out what’s going on before we make any definitive pronouncements,” he told the station. “But it’s certainly possible that there was a bomb on board.”

On Wednesday, American officials said intelligence suggests that ISIS or its affiliates planted a bomb on the Russian plane, which broke apart in midair last weekend, killing all 224 people on board. The flight was heading from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to St. Petersburg, Russia.

A U.S. official told CNN that the “specificity” in the chatter surrounding the crash of the Russian jet drew the attention of the U.S. intelligence community. The official said “the specific nature of the discussion” that officials monitored made them take notice.

News of Wednesday’s American intelligence analysis came hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said a bomb may have caused the crash.

“While the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed,” Cameron’s office said in a statement.

“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,” it added.

On Thursday, Cameron reiterated that it is “more likely than not” that a bomb brought down Metrojet Flight 9268. But Russian and Egyptian officials have warned against jumping to conclusions. Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamel said officials have found no evidence to support the theory that a bomb caused the plane crash.

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