Maxim Grigoryev / Russia Emergencies Ministry / AFP / Getty Images

No evidence of terror link in Russian jet crash over Sinai, says Egypt

Russia said explosive device was placed on Airbus A321; Sinai branch of ISIL claimed responsibility

A preliminary investigation into the crash of a Russian Metrojet passenger plane has found no indication yet of any "illegal or terrorist act," said Ayman el-Muqadam, Egypt's chief investigator, in a report released Monday.

The vaguely worded statement said the investigation committee so far has not found "any evidence" indicating foul play in the Oct. 31 downing of the plane, killing all 224 people on board, mostly Russian vacationers. The committee is "continuing its work," it said.

Russia has said an explosive device was placed on board the jet, an Airbus A321-200, and the Sinai branch of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility. The crash led Russia to suspend all flights to and from Egypt, dealing a heavy blow to the country's vital tourism industry.

Muqadam said the investigating committee has completed its preliminary report, which contains all available information that will be further investigated.

He said the search for wreckage extended more than 10 miles from the main crash site and that the committee provided all parties that are part of the investigation, including Metrojet's insurance company and Russian teams, opportunities to examine the wreckage.

The investigators analyzed the plane's 38 computers and two engine computers and is checking the technical details of the plane and repairs carried out since it was manufactured in May 1977.

Muqadam said that the investigation committee made 15 visits to the crash site and that the team was coordinating with the air force to move the wreckage to a safe location in Cairo for further study.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment directly on the Egyptian statement but told reporters in a conference call, "I can remind you of the conclusion of our experts from the special services, who came to the conclusion that it was a terrorist action."

Associated Press

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