Claims by terrorists aligned with ISIS (ISIL) that they had shot down the Russian airliner that crashed over the Egyptian Sinai region this past weekend have been denied by Russian and Egyptian officials, according to CNN. Those claims “cannot be considered reliable,” Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov was quoted as saying by CNN, citing a report from RIA Novosti.
Backing up that assertion, CNN reported that the Egyptian military said anti-aircraft weapons owned by Sinai terrorists can only reach less than half the height at which the plane was flying when the tragedy unfolded. That doesn’t mean the investigation is over. Even Israel is apparently assisting with that effort as they can. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in comments released on Sunday by his office that “we are, of course, in continuous contact with the governments of Russia and of Egypt regarding the circumstances of the incident.”
Netanyahu also offered his own sympathies. “I offer condolences to the government of Russia, to President Putin, to the Russian people and, of course, to the families of the victims. This was a very serious disaster. We share in their grief.”
The Russian investigation process is underway. On Saturday the Kremlin announced that President Vladimir Putin ordered a “state commission” to look into the crash. The press released, posted on the President’s website, said 224 persons, including airline personnel, were on board the plane. The airliner was flying from Egypt to Russia.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian side is also saying it wasn’t a terror attack. Egyptian Airports Co. chief Adel Al-Mahjoob told CNN it was likely a failure with the plane, noting that there is no evidence the plane crash was due to terrorism. CNN has reported that the plane’s record-keeping black boxes have been recovered, which should provide a clearer picture of the incident.
Both Russia and Egypt are battling terrorists, but in two different countries. Egypt has been fighting militants in Sinai for years, while Russia has recently officially joined the war with ISIS in Syria.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 1, 2015)