BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The Lebanese Hezbollah said claims that it was linked to the explosion of an Ethiopian passenger jet over the Mediterranean Sea were groundless.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 exploded shortly after takeoff in stormy weather Jan. 25. All 90 passengers on board are presumed dead.
Initial accounts suggested poor weather conditions complicated by pilot error were to blame for the accident. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said there was no evidence to suggest the accident was the result of terrorism.
Several media outlets, however, have published reports that suggest Hezbollah may be tied to the explosion.
Lebanon's al-Liwaa newspaper said members of Hezbollah had missed the flight, adding the high-profile presence of the Shiite resistance at the funeral for one of the victims suggested the group was linked to the crashed airliner.
Other media reports raised speculation the crash happened because of "sabotage," while others questioned whether rockets were involved.
Hezbollah in a statement published on its al-Manar news agency denied the allegations in al-Liwaa.
"What the daily said about a high-ranking delegation of Hezbollah supposed to be on the plane is not true and has no actual basis," the statement read.