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Investigators find no evidence of terrorism in crash of Russian jet

Egyptian investigators in charge of the investigation into the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 have found no evidence so far to suggest that an explosive device brought down the Russian jet, contradicting a previous announcement by Russia.

Captain Ayman El Mokaddem, the head of the international investigation committee, said in a statement on Monday that the preliminary report into the crash has been finished and was sent to all relevant parties, as well as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). A copy of the report was not immediately released.

"Captain El Mokaddem revealed that the committee has to date not received any information indicating unlawful interference or a terrorist act and therefore the committee is continuing its work on the technical investigation," Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority said. The statement outlined some of the work carried out so far but provided no other information regarding other possible causes of the crash.

Captain Mokaddem did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monday's statement is at odds with a previous announcement by the Russian government, which claims that it found traces of explosives on the wreckage and concluded that the aircraft was brought down with a homemade explosive device with an equivalent of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of TNT. The Islamic State (ISIS) group has claimed responsibility for the crash.

In addition to the possibility of a bomb explosion, several other theories are being considered, though Monday's statement provided no update on whether any possible causes had been ruled out in the preliminary report. The crash bore similarities to the 2002 crash of China Airlines Flight 611, which was the result of a mid-air structural collapse caused by faulty repairs after a tailstrike. The Russian aircraft had also undergone repairs for a tailstrike.

All 224 people on board Metrojet Flight 9268 were killed when it crashed in northern Sinai on October 31, just over 20 minutes after the aircraft took off from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport for a flight to Saint Petersburg in Russia. Nearly all of the victims were Russian citizens, except for 4 Ukrainian citizens and one citizen from Belarus.

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