Egypt: No Arrests Made in Connection to Russian Plane Crash

CAIRO (Reuters) -
In this photo made available Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, and provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, Egyptian Military on cars approach a plane's tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St. Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana, Egypt, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. The Russian cargo plane on Monday brought the first bodies of Russian victims killed in a plane crash in Egypt home to St. Petersburg, a city awash in grief for its missing residents. (Maxim Grigoriev/Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations via AP)
Egyptian military approach a plane’s tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St. Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana, Egypt, on Nov. 1, 2015. (Maxim Grigoriev/Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations via AP)

Egypt’s Interior Ministry denied on Saturday making any arrests in connection with the crash of a Russian passenger plane in Sinai last October that killed all 224 people on board.

Sources familiar with the matter had told Reuters on Friday that an EgyptAir mechanic whose cousin joined Islamic State in Syria is suspected of planting a bomb on the plane and had been arrested along with two airport policemen and a baggage handler suspected of helping him put the bomb on board.

“Contrary to recent media speculation, we can categorically confirm that there have been no arrests in connection to the ongoing investigations into the causes of the Metrojet crash,” the Interior Ministry said.

Russia and Western countries have said they believe the flight was brought down by a bomb smuggled onboard. Egypt has so far publicly said it has not found any evidence of foul play.

Any formal charges or official Egyptian confirmation that a bomb brought down the Airbus A321 could potentially expose Egypt to compensation payments to the families of the victims.

Islamic State’s online magazine carried a photo of a soft drink can that it said had been used to make an improvised bomb that brought down the airliner. Egypt is facing Islamist terrorism in Sinai where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed at the hands of militants.