Egypt's president says ISIS jet claim is 'propaganda'

NNA – Egypt’s president has dismissed claims that a Russian passenger jet was downed by a branch of ISIS as propaganda, after the airline said the crash which killed all 224 people on board was due to “external” factors.

Analysis of the “black boxes”, which could solve the mystery of what happened to the doomed jet, is expected to begin on Tuesday according to Egyptian officials. Russia’s government commission overseeing the crash probe is also due to meet.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s remarks came as a top U.S. intelligence official said it was “unlikely” ISIS was involved in the crash of the Kogalymavia Airbus A-321 over the Sinai peninsula on Saturday.

“When there is propaganda that it crashed because of ISIS, this is one way to damage the stability and security of Egypt and the image of Egypt,” Sisi told the BBC.

“Believe me, the situation in Sinai — especially in this limited area — is under our full control,” he said.

Both Cairo and Moscow have played down a claim by Egypt’s ISIS branch that it brought down the plane which was bound for St Petersburg in Russia from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

And on Monday, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that while he could not rule out ISIS involvement, he thought it “unlikely”.

“We don’t have any direct evidence of any terrorist involvement yet,” he said.

Investigators are examining all possible causes as they comb the remote crash site as part of an Egyptian-led probe into the disaster that also involves experts from Russia, Airbus, and Ireland, where the aircraft was registered.–AFP