Russian officials say that an improvised explosive device (IED) brought down Metrojet Flight 9268 in the Sinai on October 31. The officials announced their conclusion during a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has posted a transcript of the meeting online.
Investigators from the US, the UK and France have said it is increasingly likely that terrorists downed the jet. Still, Western counterterrorism and intelligence officials have not offered a definitive explanation, saying there is some uncertainty surrounding the crash. The Russian and Egyptian governments were also initially reticent to label it an act of terrorism.
The Islamic State’s so-called Sinai “province” issued a claim of responsibility hours after the airliner crashed. The Islamic State and its Sinai “branch” have repeated that claim several times since then.
Assuming the details provided by the Russian government are accurate, then authorities have confirmed that the jet was downed by terrorists.
“You can definitely say that this is a terrorist act,” the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, told Putin during their meeting.
Bortnikov said that a study of the passengers’ “personal belongings” and baggage, as well as the aircraft parts, “revealed traces” of a foreign explosive. The IED had a “capacity” equivalent “of up to 1 kg [2.2. pounds] of TNT,” according to Bortnikov, resulting in the aircraft breaking up midair and spreading parts of the fuselage over a great distance.