British investigators examining the deadly crash of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula last weekend believe that the plane was brought down by a bomb placed in the cargo hold, according to reports by Sky News, the BBCand The Daily Telegraph.
The BBC reported that while officials in London have not completely ruled out the possibility that Metrojet 9268 crashed due to a technical fault, they now view such a scenario as highly unlikely.
Sky News reported that British intelligence operatives uncovered chatter during a review of intercepted conversations following the Oct. 31 disaster that suggested a plot to bomb a passenger plane in the region. The Telegraph reported that the conversations involved Islamist militants known to U.S. and British intelligence.
The Russian government reacted angrily to initial reports of the British intercepts Thursday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters that if Britain had information about a bomb on the plane, it was “really shocking” that such information had not been shared with Russia.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in response that the U.K. government had not distributed the intercepts widely, saying, “Some intelligence we can share, some we cannot. We have reached a conclusion. What we are sharing with our partners is our conclusion.”