Though the investigation is ongoing, many believe that the Russian airliner that crashed last week over the Sinai, killing all 224 people on board, was the result of an Islamic State (ISIS) bomb smuggled on board by an airport employee.
The Airbus A-321 broke apart in mid-air at an altitude of 9,450 meters, crashing vertically into the Egyptian Sinai peninsula, 23 minutes after taking off from Sharm el-Sheik for St. Petersburg.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday that as more evidence comes to light, it seems more likely that the crash was the result of an on-board explosion.
“We cannot be certain that the Russian airliner was brought down by a terrorist bomb, but it looks increasingly likely that was the case,” he said to the press.
US President Barack Obama concurred, saying that the White House is considering it “very seriously” as the cause.
Several European carriers, such as Germany, Britain, and Ireland, have cancelled flights to the Sinai. Russian President Vladmir Putin has urged caution in regard to speculations regarding the cause of the crash, and has not come out with a conclusive statement yet stating the cause of the tragic crash.
US Intelligence officials spoke to CNN, saying that an on-board bomb was the most likely source of the crash, and that getting it onto the plane would not have been a problem. It was probably brought on by a baggage handler.
“This airport has lax security. It is known for that,” an official said. “But there is intelligence suggesting an assist from someone at the airport.”
No physical evidence connects the disaster to ISIS, but the ISIS-affiliated Islamic terror group operating in the Sinai took credit for the crash on their social media site, announcing in an audio message:
“Find your black boxes and analyze them, give us the results of your investigation and the depth of your expertise and prove we didn’t do it or how it was downed. Die with your rage. We are the ones with God’s blessing who brought it down. And God willing, one day we will reveal how, at the time we desire.”
The conflict between Russia and ISIS took on a different dimension in September when Russia sent troops to support their ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the civil war which has been going on for over three years and claimed more than 250,000 lives. Hundreds of Russian airstrikes have targeted ISIS.
The Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, or Province of Sinai movement, affiliated with ISIS and fighting Egypt in the Sinai, claimed credit directly after the crash. Their claim was initially discredited since they do not have missile systems capable of attacking aircraft at that altitude.