US intelligence officials are reportedly basing part of a theory that ISIS planted a bomb on a Russian passenger plane on warning calls that were made between ISIS members in Egypt, according to The Daily Beast.
Officials reportedly intercepted a signal that warned of “something big in the area” before a Russian plane carrying 224 people crashed about 20 minutes after take-off from Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh airport. Sources told The Daily Beast that the call was between members of ISIS’s affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
ISIS’s Sinai operatives claimed responsibility for the incident soon after it happened, but the group’s central leadership has not acknowledged it, yet. The Sinai branch of the group has said it will eventually reveal how it downed the plane.
US intelligence sources told CNN earlier this week that they believe ISIS planted a bomb on the plane, possibly in luggage. Britain also said this week that the plane might have been brought down by an explosive device, and US President Barack Obama on Thursday said the US was taking “very seriously” the possibility a bomb caused the crash.
Investigations are ongoing, however, and no formal conclusions have been announced. Officials in Egypt are scheduled to hold a press conference on the crash Saturday.
Russia has suspended all flights to Egypt, and the UK has suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh in light of the crash.
The Sharm el-Sheikh airport is now increasing its security. UK officials reportedly raised concerns about the airport last year, reportedly complaining that airport staff members weren’t “checking people enough,” according to The Guardian. Concerns reportedly included luggage screening.
Experts have said that it’s likely ISIS had the capability to get a bomb onto an aeroplane.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, also said it was possible that ISIS, which is also known as the Islamic State or ISIL, would have the capability to carry out such an attack.
He told MSNBC on Thursday that it doesn’t “require a lot of sophistication, unfortunately, to get a bomb on an aircraft.”
“You have to defeat the airport security,” Schiff said. “We have, obviously, much better airport security here at home, but even our airport security is far from infallible.”
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