Moscow (AFP) - Moscow cast doubt Saturday on claims by the Islamic State group's Egyptian affiliate to have downed a Russian passenger jet that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people onboard.
"This information cannot be considered accurate," transport minister Maksim Sokolov said in comments cited by Russian news agencies.
"We are in close contact with our Egyptian colleagues and aviation authorities in the country. At present, they have no information that would confirm such insinuations," he added.
The IS affiliate, which is waging a deadly insurgency in the Sinai, had circulated a statement on social media claiming responsibility for the crash, saying it brought down the aircraft in revenge for Russian air strikes against militants in Syria.
"The soldiers of the caliphate succeeded in bringing down a Russian plane in Sinai," its statement said.
Several military experts contacted by AFP said it was unlikely that IS militants in Sinai would have missiles capable of shooting down a plane flying at 30,000 feet.
But they did not discount the possibility that a bomb may have been planted on the plane, or that it could have been hit by a rocket or missile as it lost height due to technical problems.