Helicopter flies over wreckage of Metrojet Flight 9268
Helicopter flies over wreckage of Metrojet Flight 9268Reuters

Egypt's civil aviation ministry completed a preliminary report on doomed Metrojet Flight 9268 on Monday, insisting that the flight was not downed by terrorism. 

"The technical investigative committee has so far not found anything indicating any illegal intervention or terrorist action," the ministry said in a statement.

Intelligence experts believe Metrojet Flight 9268, which crashed in the Sinai desert on October 31, was destroyed as the result of an explosion in its luggage bay shortly after the jet took off from Sharm al-Sheikh airport. 

The airplane's two black box flight recorders revealed a "very sudden explosive decompression" 24 minutes into the flight. All 224 people on board died instantly. 

But authorities have been slow to blame terrorism for the explosion, even after Islamic State (ISIS) declared responsibility for placing a bomb on board, and even after British intelligence revealed. Since the incident tourism to Egypt has dropped considerably, and Cairo has repeatedly attempted to reassure would-be travelers by playing down the terrorism theory.

In November, Western intelligence declared that terrorist involvement was 'probable,' followed several days later by a reluctant statement from Moscow condemning the crash as a terrorist act. 

British intelligence, in particular, pointed to the poor security measures at Sharm al-Sheikh, calling back their citizens from the region following the ISIS bomb announcement.

Days later, British jihadis were reported to have brought down the plane, after UK intelligence admitted it had intercepted "chatter" in which numerous jihadis - including those with London and Birmingham accents - are heard celebrating the crash.