CAUSE UNKNOWN Egypt says IS claim is propaganda

Posted on 11/03/2015 | About Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula is under “full control” and that claims by the Islamic State group that it downed a Russian passenger plane were “propaganda” aimed at damaging the country's image.

In an interview with the BBC released Tuesday, el-Sissi also reiterated his assertion that the cause of the crash may not be known for months and that until then, the causes should not be speculated on.

Islamic State militants said on the day of the crash that they had “brought down” the Russian plane to avenge those killed as a result of Moscow's recent air campaign in Syria, launched in support of IS adversary President Bashar Assad.

But the group did not provide any evidence to back up its claim, and militants in northern Sinai have not to date shot down commercial airliners or fighter jets.

Precautionary measures

Meanwhile the US Embassy in Cairo has instructed its staff not to travel anywhere in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula as a “precautionary measure,” pending the outcome of the investigation into the crash of a Russian passenger jet.

In its statement, emailed late Monday, the embassy says it will issue another message when the security measure is lifted.

The Russian jet, flying from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, crashed over the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 people onboard.

The cause of the crash is not known. Mystery and confusion surrounds the flight's final moments and speculation includes a technical problem, structural failure, fire, bomb or an attack by Islamic militants on the ground.