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Satellite Shows Heat Flash When Russian Metrojet Plane Crashed, But No Missile: U.S. Officials

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While many have speculated that a missile may have struck a Russian commercial airliner that went down over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, U.S. officials are now saying satellite imagery doesn’t back up that theory.

A senior defense official told NBC News late Monday that an American infrared satellite detected a heat flash at the same time and in the same vicinity over the Sinai where the Russian passenger plane crashed.

According to the official, U.S. intelligence analysts believe it could have been some kind of explosion on the aircraft itself, either a fuel tank or a bomb, but that there’s no indication that a surface-to-air missile brought the plane down.

That same infrared satellite would have been able to track the heat trail of a missile from the ground.

“The speculation that this plane was brought down by a missile is off the table,” the official said.

A second senior U.S. defense official also confirmed the surveillance satellite detected a “flash or explosion” in the air


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