CAIRO, Egypt — The barbaric Islamic group ISIS, which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has released a video of what is purported to be the final moments of a downed Russian plane as it claims responsibility for the deadly crash.
An Airbus A-321 jet crashed in a mountainous region of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt on Saturday, killing all 224 on board. Search teams continue to recover the remains of passengers, finding bodies as far away as three miles from the remnants of the St. Petersburg-bound plane, which was believed to have split in half during the incident.
“The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders,” a Tweet from ISIS affiliate Welayat Sinai reads. “They were all killed, thanks be to Allah.”
Further statements claim that the incident was an attack “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land.”
Professor Michael Clarke of the Royal United Services Institute told the Sunday Express that while he doesn’t believe that ISIS had the capability to shoot down the aircraft, it is possible that the plane was destroyed by a bomb.
“Early reports said it split into two and that suggests a catastrophic failure, not a mechanical failure, but perhaps an explosion on board,” he said. “So I would be much more inclined to think, if we have to guess at this stage, it is much more likely to have been a bomb on board than a missile fired from the ground.”
He also opined that because there was no mayday call, it is possible that the disaster was the result of an attack as opposed to a mechanical issue.
Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov doesn’t believe ISIS’ claims, stating, “now in various media there is assorted information that the Russian passenger [plane] … was supposedly shot down by an anti-aircraft missile, fired by terrorists. This information can’t be considered accurate.”
Wail al-Madawi, Egypt’s former minister of civil aviation, made similar remarks.
“It is very difficult to identify what caused the catastrophe until the flight recorders have been decoded,” he said. “They would capture everything the pilots talked about including any technical issues. Mostly probably, there was a technical malfunction which led to the crash. All these details will be investigated through the decoding of the black box data.”