U.S. Intelligence Officials: ISIS Might Have Planted Bomb to Down Russian Jet

Photo Credit: Curimedia/Wikpedia
Photo Credit: Curimedia/Wikpedia

Days after Russian officials expressed doubt that Saturday’s devastating plane crash in Egypt was the result of a terror attack, U.S. intelligence officials now state that they have information suggesting that ISIS—or an affiliate of the group—planted a bomb on the aircraft.

“There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane,” the unnamed official told CNN on Wednesday.

He stated that it is believed that someone from the Sharm el-Sheikh airport in Egypt helped to get the bomb on the plane.

“This airport has lax security. It is known for that,” the official outlined. “But there is intelligence suggesting an assist from someone at the airport. ”

Egyptian and British officials have made similar statements. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters Wednesday night “all the information we have available from a range of sources” suggests that “there is a significant possibility that the crash was caused by an explosive device onboard the aircraft.”

The UK has now suspended all flights from England to the Sharm el-Sheikh airport as a precaution.

As previously reported, an Airbus A-321 jet crashed in a mountainous region of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt on Saturday, killing all 224 on board. The St. Petersburg-bound plane was believed to have split in mid-air, but initial reports speculated mechanical failure as opposed to foul play.

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However, members of ISIS soon released a video of what is purported to be the final moments of the downed plane as it claimed responsibility for the deadly crash.

“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 read. “They were all killed, thanks be to Allah.”

Further statements claimed that the incident was an attack “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land.”

On Wednesday, ISIS continued to claim responsibility for the incident.

“Find your black boxes and analyze them, give us the results of your investigation and the depth of your expertise and prove we didn’t do it or how it was downed,” it wrote on social media. “Die with your rage. We are the ones with Allah’s blessing who brought it down. And Allah willing, one day we will reveal how, at the time we desire.”

As investigations are still ongoing, officials emphasize that its too early to reach a firm conclusion.

“I have been briefed and I guess I would urge people not to jump to any conclusions yet,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca.),  Intelligence Committee Ranking Member, told reporters. “We are still trying to confirm what the cause of the crash was. It is certainly possible that it was an explosive, but it’s also possible that this was a structural problem with the plane.”

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