ISIS Claim They Shot Down Russian Passenger Plane

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ISIS group claims credit for Russian plane disaster, but Egypt blames technical problems

Russian passenger plane

A Russian passenger plane  en route from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg crashed early Saturday in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all on board.

As ISIS affiliated group have claimed that they shot down the Russian plane, while officials have blamed technical problems for the disaster.

Maxim Sokolov, the Russian minister said the cause of the crash has yet to be confirmed.

A top Russian investigative committee has begun a criminal investigation into the crash.

NYTimes reports: Hours after the crash, a branch of the Islamic State operating in the Sinai Peninsula issued a claim of responsibility. There has been a violent insurgency for several years against the Egyptian government in Sinai, but there has been no indication that the terrorist organization there possesses the weapons needed to bring down a plane from a high altitude.

Maxim Sokolov, the Russian minister of transportation, issued a statement rejecting reports that the plane had been shot down.

“This information cannot be considered credible,” Mr. Sokolov said. “We are in a close contact with our Egyptian colleagues, with the aviation authorities of this country. At the moment they have no information that would confirm such fabrications.”

Air France and Lufthansa said Saturday that they would avoid flying over the Sinai Peninsula as a precautionary measure until further notice. Lufthansa said the move would involve rerouting flights to six destinations.

The plane was flying at 31,000 feet when it began to descend, and the general range of the shoulder-fired missiles commonly known as Manpads that have been used against Egyptian military helicopters in the region is much lower, around 20,000 feet.

Speaking on a nationally broadcast news conference, Mr. Sokolov said the cause of the crash had yet to be confirmed.

Asked about a possible link to terrorism and warnings not to fly over that region due to the insurgency there, Mr. Sokolov said the Egyptian government had not closed the airspace over the Sinai Peninsula.

The Egyptian Prosecutor General’s office are allowing Russian investigators to participate in the inquiry into the causes of the crash, TASS reports. It also called in flight operation officers and pre-flight preparation crews for questioning, which that will be reportedly conducted together with the Russian side.

Niamh Harris
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