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UK Says Russian Plane "May Well" Have Been Downed By "Explosive Device"

With each passing day, we get still more evidence that the Russian passenger jet which crashed in the Sinai Peninsula last weekend exploded in the sky. 

While that might seem obvious to anyone who has followed the story, the Egyptian civil aviation ministry attempted to play down the idea that the jet “broke apart” in mid-air, saying yesterday that there was as yet no “proof” of that contention.

And while there may be no concrete “proof” as of yet, we do have evidence. Like the testimony of an Egyptian forensics expert who went the common sense route, noting that when body parts are scattered across an 8 kilometer radius, it’s logical to conclude that something exploded. Then there’s the account from FlightRadar24 which indicates that the plane slowed suddenly and then plunged to the Earth at 300 miles/hour. 

Finally, IS Sinai was out this morning insisting that they “downed” the plane although they declined to explain how insisting instead that the public prove a negative (i.e. “prove we didn’t crash it”). Meanwhile, the home office in Raqqa posted a video congratulating their “brothers” in Egypt for the “success.” 

Put simply, either IS Sinai is lying, or they intend to do this again, and thus want to keep the “secret sauce” (so to speak) under wraps. 

Now, in a move that appears consistent with that assessment, the UK government has suspended flights from Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt due to the possibility that the plane was brought down by an “explosive device.” Here’s WSJ:

In a statement, Downing Street said while the investigation is continuing, it cannot categorically say why the Russian jet crashed. “But as more information has come to light, we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device,” it said.

 

As a result, the government was delaying flights due to leave from Sharm el-Sheikh airport for the U.K. on Wednesday as a precautionary measure while a U.K. team of aviation experts assessed security arrangements at the airport. It said it expected that assessment to be completed later Wednesday.

 

Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the government’s ad hoc emergency committee later Wednesday to review the situation and provide an update after, his office said.

And in Egypt, a "source close to the investigation of the black boxes" tells Reuters that the cause of the disaster is “looking more like an explosion.” Here’s more: 

"It is believed to be an explosion but what kind is not clear. There is an examination of the sand at the crash site to try and determine if it was a bomb," the source told Reuters.

 

"There are forensic investigations underway at the crash site. That will help determine the cause, to see if traces of explosives are found."

 

Egypt has dismissed claims by Islamic State that it brought down the aircraft with 224 passengers and crew aboard.

So, with the evidence mounting that this was indeed the result of a mid-air detonation, the irony is that in fact it will be incumbent upon investigators to prove that ISIS' claim is false, because if they can't, there's no way to ensure the safety of commercial flights flying from Sharm el-Sheikh.

Again, we imagine that rather than wait for the full report, Moscow will simply choose to bomb the answers out of the militants.