DAMASCUS – The radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) on Saturday claimed responsibility for downing the Russian passenger plane A321 in the Egyptian Sinai.
“Islamic State’s fighters were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders. They were all killed, thanks be to Allah,” pro-ISIS media outlets quoted the group’s leadership as saying.
“This operation came in response to raids conducted by Russian warplanes, which has so far caused the death of hundreds of Muslims, including women and children, on the Syrian territory,” the extremist group said.
The terror group did not say how the plane was supposedly taken down, but pro-ISIS activists circulated a video on the social media, claiming they were able to soot the plane down.
However, Moscow refuted the claim, saying a technical problem has caused the crash.
ISIS militants in the Wilayat Sinaa (Sinai province) posses some shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles called Manpads, according to reports.
However, security experts say it is not possible for ISIS to strike a plane like the Airbus A321 as it flew at 31,000ft.
On the other hand, the Russian transport minister, Maksim Sokolov, denied the group’s claim, saying “it is not accurate”.
The Egyptian army announced that there is no proof that terrorists were responsible for the Russian plane crash.
“The (Egyptian) army sees no authenticity to their (ISIS) claims or their video,” the army spokesman said in a statement on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, the company that owns the crashed plane said the Airbus A321 was in “full working order”, adding that its captain Valery Nemov had more than 12,000 hours of flying experience, excluding human error in the disaster.
An official source at Cairo airport told ARA News that the Russian plane disappeared on Saturday morning, after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport heading to Russia.
“The plane was descending speedily at about 6,000 feet per minute before it disappeared from radar, where the pilot asked the air traffic control to land in a nearby airport, but he lost contact with air control,” he added.
Search teams found the wreckage in a remote mountainous region of North Sinai, describing the crash as a “tragic scene” with dead passengers still burned on their seats.
The crashed Airbus A321 included at least 17 children, 138 women and 62 men, according to Egyptian officials.
The crash site indicated that a technical fault caused the disaster, according to Egyptian security sources.
The black box recorders have been found and will be used to see what happened in the plane’s final moments.
Reporting by: Resho Issa
Source: ARA New
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