Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail (4rth R) at the remines of a plane crash at the desert in central Sinai near El Arish city north of Egypt, October 31, 2015.
(photo credit: (AICF/CHRIS LEE))
LONDON - Britain said on Wednesday that the Russian plane that crashed in Egypt this week after taking off from the resort of Sharm al-Sheikh might have been brought down by an explosive device.
"While the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed," Prime Minister David 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.
As a precautionary measure, the government has decided that flights due to leave Sharm for Britain on Wednesday evening will be delayed to allow time for a team of UK aviation experts, currently travelling to Sharm, to make an assessment of the security arrangements in place at the airport.
On Monday, US officials ruled out the possibility that a surface-to-air missile brought down a Russian commercial airline in Egypt's Sinai on Saturday, killing all 224 passengers on board, according to a report by NBC News.
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Officials said that satellite imagery identified a heat flash at the point where the aircraft crashed, leading analysts to believe that an in-flight explosion, rather than external tampering, may have brought down the the plane.
"The speculation that this plane was brought down by a missile is off the table," an official told NBC. Yet the possibility that the explosion was fueled by an on-board terror attack has not been ruled out.