U.S. intelligence have looked into the bottom of the Russian plane crash and now suggested that an ISIS-planted bomb on the plane caused the plane’s disintegration in mid-air. Intelligence officials found that someone from Sharm el-Sheikh airport assisted the perpetrators in putting the bomb on the plane.
As previously reported by Morning News USA, Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed Saturday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The plane split apart in mid-air and killed all 224 travelers on board. The flight was en route to St. Petersburg from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, a top tourists destination among foreign holidaymakers.
With the holiday nearing and many people traveling out of the country, it is especially important to take note of the fact that the ISIS is in the prowl somewhere, searching for vulnerable spots to conduct their attack. According to intelligence officials who have spoken with CNN, investigation has pointed to the possibility that ISIS was able to plant an explosive device in luggage or somewhere on the plane with an assistance from “someone” inside the Sharm el-Sheikh airport.
“This airport has lax security. It is known for that. But there is intelligence suggesting an assist from someone at the airport,” the official said. While the official said that this is yet the final result of the investigation, all intelligence gathered are pointing to the highest possibility that ISIS was in fact responsible for the attack. The source cited internal messages from the ISIS that are different from public statements made by the terrorist organization.
It is to be recalled that immediately after the incident, an audio message from the ISIS adamantly declared that they shut the plane down. “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,” the audio message said. “Die with your rage. We are the ones with God’s blessing who brought it down. And God willing, one day we will reveal how, at the time we desire,” it continued.
Sinai has been the seat of combat between ISIS-affiliated terrorist group and the Egyptian forces for the past years, according to CNN. In April 2014, the U.S. State Department declared the ISIS Sinai group, known locally as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, as a foreign terrorist organization. The group has been the most active of all the terrorist groups that have sworn loyalty to the ISIS and has developed sophisticated bomb-making capabilities in the past years.
Egypt has consistently denied reports that ISIS was involved in the Russian plane crash. “It is believed to be an explosion but what kind is not clear. There is an examination of the sand at the crash site to try and determine if it was a bomb. There are forensic investigations underway at the crash site. That will help determine the cause, to see if traces of explosives are found,” an Egyptian official tasked at investigating the crash told Reuters.
The UK has already issued travel warning for Britons against traveling to Sharm el-Sheikh. UK Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said the government concluded that it has to change the travel advice and it is now advising against all but essential travel to Sharm el-Sheikh.
“That means that there will be no UK passenger flights out to Sharm el Sheikh from now. Passengers who are on the ground in Sharm el Sheikh will be returned to the UK. We are working with the airlines and the Egyptian authorities to put in place emergency procedures and additional screening and additional security to ensure they can get home safely either on their original scheduled return dates or if they wish to leave earlier on an earlier date,” Hammond said in a statement.
“When we are in possession of information we will not hesitate to act on it in order to protect that security and we will take whatever criticisms we receive. We have to act in the interest of British nationals,” the statement added.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has also issued travel warning for its employees to avoid all travels to anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula. The warning is in effect “pending the outcome of the investigation into the tragic crash of a Russian passenger jet,” the embassy said in a statement.
The intelligence officials who have spoken with CNN said that the ISIS does not have the advanced bomb-making capabilities required to conduct the bomb plot aboard the Russian plane. This is where the ISIS Sinai affiliated comes into the picture.
If it is proven that the group indeed was able to split the Russian plane in half while its flying, then “this would be the most significant terrorist attack since 9/11, there’s no doubt about that,” CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank concluded. “If ISIS really was responsible for this, this will turbocharge their popularity in the global jihadi movement,” he added.