— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 2, 2015
TEL AVIV — Insiders in the group that represents ISIS in the Gaza Strip claimed to WND Sunday that the global jihadist group will soon release information purporting to show how it helped to bring down the Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. Salafist jihadists in the Gaza Strip who operate under the ISIS banner in the territory said the global jihad group was indeed involved in the downing of the aircraft Saturday morning. They claimed it was not a missile that brought the plane down and that supposed evidence will soon be released by ISIS. One ISIS leader in Gaza told WND that “in the Russian plane operation our brothers used their brains more than their bullets or their explosives. It was part of a brains war.”
— Bloomberg Business (@business) November 2, 2015
The ISIS leader hinted to similarities with the 9/11 attacks as far as what he described as the level of sophistication of the claimed attack on the Russian jet.
The ISIS leader spoke on condition of anonymity, citing specific ISIS instructions for all members of the global jihad group to refrain from putting out information concerning the attack for the time being.
Other ISIS ideologues in Gaza further claimed the video circulating on the Internet purporting to show the final moments of the Russian jet is not authentic.
The Gazan ISIS ideologues fight under the same ISIS banner as their jihadist comrades in the neighboring Peninsula, the group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which claimed it was behind the fatal plane crash.
Egypt and Russia have been quick to deny any possible terrorism link to the incident, which is being described as one of the deadliest Airbus crashes of the past decade.
According to the Daily Mail, Michael Clarke, director general of the Royal United Services Institute, told British radio he believes the early information indicates the jet could have been destroyed by a bomb on the aircraft.
Clarke told BBC Radio Five Live: “This aircraft was 200km north of its take-off zone, that means it was flying at around 31,000 feet. Terrorists, as far as we know, don’t have equipment to take down an aircraft at that height.
“They have shoulder-launched missiles, known as man-portable missiles. They can get aircraft when they are taking off or landing, when they are going low and slow. But anything above 8,000 or 9,000 feet is out of the range of the weapons that they’ve got.”
He pointed out the debris was strewn round the Sinai, where ISIS and its affiliates are known to be highly active.
“Early reports said it split into two and that suggests a catastrophic failure, not a mechanical failure, but perhaps an explosion on board, 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 continued: “And there’s no sign of a distress call, so the idea that the aircraft was undergoing an mechanical problem, or an engine problem, or a fire, or something like that, you would expect that there would be some sort of distress call beforehand.”
“So the fact that there was a catastrophic failure at 31,000 feet, with the aircraft falling in two pieces, suggests to me an explosion on board. So was this caused by some form of terrible accident, which is unlikely, or a bomb, which is much more likely, my mind is moving in that direction rather than anything that happened on the ground.”
Fragments of the plane have been scattered throughout seven square miles and nothing has been “ruled out,” Russian authorities said. Both of the flight recorders or “black boxes” have been found.
The airliner broke into pieces in mid-air, Russia’s state-run media quoted an aviation official as saying, but there were no additional details, CNN reported.
“Disintegration of the fuselage took place in the air, and the fragments are scattered around a large area (about 20 square kilometers),” Viktor Sorochenko, executive director of Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, told journalists.
Many of the passengers on the Airbus A321-200 aircraft, which crashed en route from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, were reported by Russian state media to be returning from vacation. Russian officials said there were 25 children aboard the plane.
Sunday was declared a day of national mourning by Russian President Vladimir Putin.