Amaq agency for ISIS claimed that ISIS downed the Russian airliner and produced two videos that show footage of a downed civilian aircraft:
— غريب (@iq2015_bgd) October 31, 2015
Officials say that the plane crashed due to technical difficulty and here ISIS says they downed the civilian jet killing all on board.
So which source do we believe in this case: the media or ISIS? Well, Fox news reveals that the official news is mired in contradictions:
Ayman al-Muqadem, an Egyptian official with the government’s Aviation Incidents Committee, said the plane’s pilot, before losing contact, had radioed that the aircraft was experiencing technical problems and that he intended to try and land at the nearest airport. The aircraft crashed at a site near the el-Arish airport, he said.
Fox then says: “It was not immediately possible to independently confirm that technical problems caused the plane to crash.” And then a complete contradiction:
Earlier, al-Muqadem told local media that the plane had briefly lost contact but was safely in Turkish airspace.
The reported news is mired with contradictions and there is no confirmation of a technical difficulty and we know that it did not reach “Turkish airspace”. So these reports cannot be confirmed or be completely trusted at this point until the investigations are complete.
Then we have Russia’s transport minister claiming that MANPAD stinger missiles are not within range to bring down an airliner that was flying at 31000 feet since MANPADS have maximum reach of 15000 feet.
However, the surprise comes when an SA-8 GECKO was used to down a cargo plane around Damascus by Syrian rebels last year which is highly mobile and has the range of 40,000 feet, well within distance of the reported height (36,000 ft). One example can be seen here:
Then we have the eyewitness account which do seem to corroborate the ISIS reported footage. A website called Flightradar24, which tracks air traffic around the globe, said the plane had been descending at a rate of 6,000 feet per minute just before it disappeared from radar. Eyewitnesses reported one engine on fire as it went down, according to a report in Masry Al-Youm, an Egyptian newspaper.
Whether or not the videos are real or staged productions is currently unknown but heat seeking missiles usually hit one engine which leaves only 30% chance of landing safely. The footage can be legitimate and ISIS does infest the Sinai which makes their report plausible, especially when we see the official reporting contradictory including the claims that terrorists only have simple low range stingers is no longer the case as evidence reveals.