According to security experts, the ISIS once again is trying to benefit of the media attention on the tragedy for propaganda purposes.
All 224 people on board the Kolavia airline’s Flight 7K9268 from Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg died after the aircraft crashed in the Sinai Peninsula. The investigators are examining the flight recorders, meanwhile the Russian Air Transport Agency confirmed that there is no reason in hypothesizing a terrorist attack at this moment.
The ISIS allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack, it is the response of the IS to the Russia’s airstrikes in Syria, but counter-terrorism experts and intelligence analysts have a different thought.
“The soldiers of the caliphate succeeded in bringing down a Russian plane in Sinai.” states the ISIS statement.
“As far as it’s known, Islamic State and its affiliate groups don’t have the capability to bring down aircraft flying at the height that this aircraft reportedly was, which is something around 10,000 meters,” security analyst and former UK counter-terrorism officer Charles Shoebridge told RT.
“That doesn’t mean to say though that at least theoretically they couldn’t bring the plane down by other means, for example by sabotage at the departing airport or a bomb on board,” he added, but pointed out that “mechanical failure of some sort is the most likely cause, as with most air accidents.”
“increases their propaganda, and it also can be seen as punishment – as they would like to call it – for Russian involvement against Islamic State in Syria, so therefore one can expect them to take advantage of [an] opportunity like this regardless whether they are responsible or not.”
As reported by the RT.com, the Egypt’s former minister of civil aviation, Wail al-Madawi, agrees that the IS groups in the region do not have the capabilities to bring down a commercial aircraft flying that high.
“Only a state can have such resources,” he told RT.
RT:Considering the high altitude the plane gained 20 minutes into the flight, is it possible to be speculating about it having been taken down by a missile?
Wail al-Madawi: No, it is out of the question. I am a former air force officer, and I have the expert knowledge that taking down a plane flying so high requires the kind of capacities only a state can have.
RT:So you’re saying that the militant groups operating on the Sinai Peninsula do not have the military capacities required to take down aircraft at such an altitude – is that correct?
WM: Yes. They certainly don’t. Only the state has such capacities. Terrorist groups cannot have such capacities by definition. This kind of mission requires three types of radars. It also requires having missiles capable of gaining such altitude. And only a state can have all these capacities. Therefore, for militants, it’s completely impossible.
Such kind of attacks requires terrorists have advanced technical equipment, including radars.
ISIS has released a video purporting to show the dramatic images of the Russian Flight 7K9268, the terrorists haven’t provided information about they might have hit the plane.
The aviation experts confirmed that the aircraft broke up mid-air scattering debris and bodies over a wide area as reported by the DailyMail.
“However, it has emerged that the aircraft broke up mid-air scattering debris and bodies over a wide area. This morning, Egyptian authorities recovered the body of a three-year-old girl some five miles from the crash scene. ” states the DailyMail.
Professor Michael Clarke, Director General of the Royal United Services Institute explained that early indications suggest that the Flight 7K9268 may have been destroyed by a bomb on the aircraft.
“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.” The expert told BBC Radio Five Live.”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.”
“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.”
“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.”
This is a critical moment for the investigation, expect a lot of incorrect information about the Flight 7K9268, including information manipulated for different purposes.
From the cyber security perspective, let me warn aviation experts, but also Internet users, about possible phishing and malware campaigns relying on the interest about the Flight 7K9268.
Threat actors in the wild could start spreading malicious messages and links trying to exploit the great interest on the case to infect a large number of computers across the world.
(Security Affairs – Flight 7K9268, ISIS)