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November 1, 2015
Islamic State claims it 'shot down' Russian plane that killed 217
Islamic State announced through its semi-official website that it was responsible for the crash in the Sinai of a Russian passenger plane that killed 217 people.
Russian and Egyptian officials dismiss the claims as "ridiculous."
"The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders,” the statement said. “They were all killed, thanks be to God.”The statement was also posted on the Aamaq website, which acts as a semi-official news agency for ISIS.Egyptian and Russian officials have dismissed the notion that ISIS shot down the plane.“This is ridiculous. The plane was flying at an altitude of 31,000 feet, out of the range of any weapons on the ground,” a high-ranking Egyptian military intelligence official told BuzzFeed News.Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said the claim “cannot be considered reliable,” according to the Russian Interfax news agency.Egyptian media are reporting that the crash was caused by a “technical failure.”Flight 92-68 operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia took off from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, headed for St. Petersburg.It crashed into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Saturday, killing all on board.The plane was carrying 200 adult passengers, 17 children and seven crew. There were no survivors.
What is disturbing about this claim is not so much that it's bogus, but rather that it's a clear warning that if they have the ability to shoot down a passenger plane, they will do so.
There is little doubt that ISIS has surface to air missiles capable of hitting aircraft like helicopters and low flying fighter jets. They've already shot down several Syrian helicopters and may have downed a jet fighter as well.
Downing a passenger jet requires more than a shoulder fired missile. But ISIS continues to overrun military bases and may find themselves in possession of very sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems. The nightmare scenario of a terrorist group having the capability to shoot down passenger jets could come to pass and we wouldn't know anything about it until they used them.