That didn't take long: following the worst Russian airplane disaster in history, the question everyone was asking is who is responsible. Moments ago we may have gotten the answer.
A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday, the group said in a statement circulated by supporters on Twitter.
Below is the full statement from a group alleging to speak on behalf of Islamic State, posted on their affiliate site, translated by the Guardian's Jahd Khalil. It offers no evidence that the group brought down the plane, apart from their word.
Breaking: Downing of Russian airplane, killing of more than 220 Russian crusaders on board.
Soldiers of the Caliphate were able to bring down a Russian plane above Sinai Province with at least 220 Russian crusaders aboard.
They were all killed, praise be to God. O Russians, you and your allies take note that you are not safe in Muslims lands or their skies.
The killing of dozens daily in Syria with bombs from your planes will bring woe to you. Just as you are killing others, you too will be killed, God willing.
An analyst with the Center for American Progress, Mokhtar Awad, told the Guardian that the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility "is quite vague.
“It doesn’t state how they were able to ‘down’ the plane allegedly. Even the most sophisticated of portable surface-to-air missiles cannot reach that high an altitude and are only a threat during periods of take-off or landing, but the plane had already climbed to its target altitude (from what we know thus far) when it began to likely experience technical failures.
The local affiliate, Wilayat Sinai, has been under some pressure over the past few months and may have jumped the gun on taking credit. Although there isn’t a precedent for such a spectacular lie about something they claim to have done, Islamic State itself has recently been embellishing more and more. For instance it claimed that the recent prison raid by Kurdish and US special forces were a total failure, when in fact video evidence surfaced showed them freeing the hostages. So this may be an instance of the rooster taking credit for the dawn.”
Of course, it could simply have been a bomb planted on the plane and set to explade after 20 minutes of flight time.
However, to corroborate their claim, ISIS has allegedly released this shocking video showing what appears to be a mid-air bomb explosion.
Whether or not the video is real or staged like many of ISIS' previous "made in Hollywood" productions, is currently unknown.
Of course, is the same ISIS which a recently leaked CIA report revealed as being created by the CIA as a "tool" to overthrow Syria's Assad.
In other words, a proxy organization of US "shadow government destabilizing operations", trained in U.S. ally Turkey, and openly funded by both U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, just took down a Russian plane.
The question now is did ISIS use a US-made surface-to-air missile to start what may be a very unpleasant war.
Also, does Russia get a carte blanche to begin attacks on ISIS in Egypt now, the same Egypt which recently "purchased" the two Mistral ships made by France, which were meant to be bought by Russia in a deal that was scrapped in the last minute due to NATO intervention?
One thing is clear: if the Russian population had any qualms about continuing the campaign in Syria, they were just eliminated in perpetuity.
Amaq agency for ISIS claimed that ISIS downed the Russian airliner and produced two videos that show footage of a downed civilian aircraft:
Ayman al-Muqadem, an Egyptian official with the government’s Aviation Incidents Committee, said the plane’s pilot, before losing contact, had and that he intended to try and land at the nearest airport. The aircraft crashed at a site near the el-Arish airport, he said.
Earlier, al-Muqadem told local media that the plane had briefly lost contact but .
The reported news is mired with contradictions and there is no confirmation of a technical difficulty and we know that it did not reach “Turkish airspace”. So these reports cannot be confirmed or be completely trusted at this point until the investigations are complete.
Then we have Russia’s transport minister claiming that MANPAD stinger missiles are to bring down an airliner that was flying at 31000 feet since MANPADS have maximum reach of 15000 feet.
However, the surprise comes when an SA-8 GECKO was used to down a cargo plane around Damascus by Syrian rebels last year which is highly mobile and has the range of well within distance of the reported height (36,000 ft). One example can be seen here:
Then we have the eyewitness account which do seem to corroborate the ISIS reported footage. A website called Flightradar24, which tracks air traffic around the globe, said the plane had been descending at a rate of 6,000 feet per minute just before it disappeared from radar. Eyewitnesses reported one engine on fire as it went down, according to a report in Masry Al-Youm, an Egyptian newspaper.
Whether or not the videos are real or staged productions is currently unknown but heat seeking missiles usually hit one engine which leaves only 30% chance of landing safely. The footage can be legitimate and ISIS does infest the Sinai which makes their report plausible, especially when we see the official reporting contradictory including the claims that terrorists only have simple low range stingers is no longer the case as evidence reveals.