The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is claiming responsibility for the Russian plane crash over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt on Saturday. Kogalymavia Flight 9268 departed the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, carrying 217 tourists and a flight crew of 7 was bound for St. Petersburg, Russia. However, some 23 minutes after take-off, the Airbus A321-200 airliner suddenly fell from an altitude of some 31,000 feet. Authorities rushed to the crash site in northern Sinai and found no survivors. Based on the large area of the debris field, around 20 square kilometers, the jet plane apparently broke apart high above the ground. French and other intelligence agencies consider the ISIS claim credible, as there has been a good deal of terrorist activity in the Sinai. But the Russians are skeptical, as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, which ISIS may have, only have a range of about 14,000 feet. Woefully short of the Airbus′ altitude of 31,000 feet.
Flight 9268 was not experiencing any difficulties as it gained altitude following take-off. There are reports that shortly before catastrophe struck, the pilot did request a return to the airport due to engine trouble. Whatever happened did so quickly, as air traffic controllers saw the plane descending rapidly until it was off the radar.
The Islamic State claims that the crash of Flight 9268 was retaliation for Russia′s recent involvement against them in Syria. While it seems unlikely that a group affiliated with ISIS in Egypt may have a missile capable of shooting down the jetliner, the French and others say that ISIS may have had operatives who placed a bomb on board the plane before it took off.
Is the Islamic State behind the Russian plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula? The Russians are skeptical but other intelligence services say it is possible. ISIS certainly has the motive and the means to do such. Egypt has been a hotbed for Islamic extremists for a long time. There has been a long series of terrorist activities in the deserts of Sinai in recent years. Many airlines reroute flights not to fly over the area.