Traces of Explosives Found in Wreckage of Russian Jet
By STEVEN LEE MYERS
"MOSCOW, Aug. 27 — Russia's security service announced today that investigators found traces of explosives in the wreckage of one of the two passenger airliners that crashed simultaneously on Tuesday night, indicating that it crashed because of a terrorist act even as an Islamic extremist group claimed its fighters had hijacked the planes to avenge the deaths of Muslims in the war in Chechnya.
The chief spokesman for the Federal Security Service, Sergei N. Ignatchenko, said investigators continued to analyze the traces of the explosive, identified as hexogene, to determine what kind of bomb might have brought down the plane, Sibir Airlines Flight 1047, which crashed near the southern city Rostov-on-Don. He said investigators had not yet found explosives on the second plane, Volga—AviaExpress Flight 1303, which crashed near a village about 100 miles south of Moscow.
The discovery of explosives aboard one of the planes appeared to confirm initial suspicions that the twin crashes, which killed 89 people, were deliberate acts of terrorism, though not human or mechanical errors, as Russian officials initially suggested.
Mr. Ignatchenko added that investigators had identified "a circle of individuals" — both passengers aboard the Sibir Airlines airplane and others who were not — who might be connected to what he called, for the first time, a terrorist act. He declined to discuss the details, saying the investigation continued."