VIDEO: Daesh claims this proves they shot down the Russian plane over the Sinai

Published November 1st, 2015 - 08:24 GMT

The Islamic State [Daesh] has released a video purporting to show the final moments of the Russian jet that crashed in Egypt, killing all 224 people on board.

The group has claimed it downed the aircraft, but has not said how it might have done so. The horrific footage - which was posted online and cannot be verified by MailOnline - shows a large structure resembling a plane falling through the air, before being consumed by a mass of smoke.

Cairo and Moscow have denied any possible terrorism link in the incident, which was one of the deadliest Airbus crashes in the past decade.

It comes as it has emerged that the burning Airbus A321 did not lodge an SOS call before it plummeted to the ground in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt's civil aviation minister Hossam Kamal said communications between the pilot and air traffic controllers were 'normal' ahead of the disaster.

'There was nothing abnormal... and the pilot didn't ask to change the plane's route,' he said, adding that the controllers recorded no distress calls.

His comments contradicted earlier claims that the pilot had reported technical difficulties and made clear his intention to land at the nearest airport.

Family and friends were yesterday pictured grieving for their loved ones - as harrowing images of the plane's mangled wreckage were released.

The photos were distributed by the office of Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail, who visited the crash site following the devastating crash.

They show the destroyed interior of the Irish-owned aircraft, which split apart upon impact, killing 192 adults, 25 children and seven crew members.

Yesterday afternoon, officials said they had recovered the aircraft's black box, which is now being examined to determine the cause of the crash.

Last night, the prime minister's office said: 'The black box was recovered from the tail of the plane and has been sent to be analysed by experts.'

It added that more than 45 ambulances have been dispatched to the crash site, with rescuers having recovered 129 victims' bodies so far.

The jet, which was leased by a Russian airline and carrying package holiday passengers back to St Peterburg in northern Russia, plummeted to the ground less than 25 minutes after it took off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik. It crashed in the Hassana area, south of Arish, officials said.

Its passengers included a 10-month-old baby girl flying home with her parents, as well as two siblings aged two and three. Numerous other children aged under 11 also perished in the disaster, according to a manifest of passengers published by the Association of Tour Operators of Russia.

The victims' bodies were spread over a three-mile radius, according to reports.

Security forces discovered the plane wreckage in a remote mountainous area in a region containing many ISIS-affiliated terrorists.

Ismail told reporters that experts will 'start examining the information in the plane's black box, and based on this we will study the causes of the crash'.

He also expressed scepticism about ISIS's claim that it carried out the attack in response to Russian strikes in Syria.

The ISIS statement read: 'The soldiers of the caliphate succeeded in bringing down a Russian plane in Sinai.'

However, Islami claimed: 'Experts have affirmed that technically planes at this altitude cannot be shot down, and the black box will be the one that will reveal the reasons for the crash,' according to state news agency MENA.

Russian transport minister Maksim Sokolov also dismissed the ISIS claims. He said: 'This information cannot be considered accurate. We are in close contact with our Egyptian colleagues and aviation authorities in the country. At present, they have no information that would confirm such insinuations.'

Neither official mentioned the terror group's video purporting to show the falling plane.

While the use of a surface-to-air missile has been dismissed as a potential cause of the crash by officials, an on-board bomb could be a possibility.

The 129 bodies that have been removed from the crash scene so far are being taken to Cairo, where postmortems will be performed to try and determine when the passengers died. The passengers included 213 Russians and four Ukrainians.

Yesterday, German airline Lufthansa said they will no longer fly over the Sinai peninsula 'as long as the cause for [the] crash has not been clarified'. A spokeswoman for the airline said that 'security is our highest priority' claiming that they would use detours to service airports in the region.

Air France has also confirmed that it will not be flying through the Sinai until the reasons behind the crash become clear.

A spokesperson told AFP the measure was taken 'as a precaution' while 'clarification' was sought over the cause of the incident.

And today, it was reported that British Airways has ordered its pilots to avoid low flying over Egypt in the wake of the crash.

Hundreds of flights, carrying British passengers to tourist hot spots such as Sharm el-Sheikh, will continue to fly over the region.

But pilots have been secretly told to be more cautious about their altitude amid concerns of a terror attack,The Sun reports.

The maximum height that a surface-to-air missile could strike is generally thought to be around 25,000 feet.

Most of the bodies recovered from the crash site have been burned. At the time, the aircraft would have been carrying a very heavy fuel load.

Ayman al-Mugadem of the Aviation Incidents Committee said the pilot warned air traffic controllers that aircraft had developed 'a technical problem' and he needed to land as soon as possible.

However, he then lost contact with controllers - and the plane vanished from radar screens, he said.

Al-Mugadem's comments were later contradicted by Kamal, who insisted communications were 'normal' before the crash.

According to radar data, the aircraft was descending at more than 6,000 feet per minute shortly before the impact.

A statement from an ISIS-linked group being broadcast on jihadist propaganda channels said: 'A Russian plane was dropped with the destruction of more than 220 Russian Crusaders, thankfully.'

However, the aircraft vanished from radar screens at 30,000 feet, more than double the effective range of a shoulder-carried ground-to-air weapon system.

The group known as A3'Maq News used the headline: 'fighters of the Islamic State down a Russian passenger plane in the sky over the Egyptian Sinai.'

It quoted a source as saying: 'This operation came in response to raids by Russian planes that have caused the deaths of hundreds of Muslims on Syrian territory, most of them women and children.'

The head of Egypt's civil aviation authority, Mahmud al-Zinati. said there were 'many dead' including 17 children. Officials said 214 of the passengers were Russians with three Ukrainians on board.

Adel Mahgoub, chairman of the state company that runs Egypt's civilian airports, said the plane had successfully undergone technical checks at Sharm el-Sheikh's airport before taking off.

He said experts were going there to view security camera footage of the Metrojet plane at the airport.

The aircraft was leased by Kogalymavia. Airline spokeswoman Oxana Golovina said the airline's pilot Valery Nemov had more than 12,000 hours of flying experience with 3,860 on the Airbus A321.

She said: 'Our aircraft was in full working order, our crew was experienced, our pilot had a great deal of flying experience, so we don't know (what caused the crash).' They stressed that human error was not at fault for the crash.

The aircraft was manufactured in 1997 and has been operated by Metrojet since 2012. Since leaving the Airbus factory it has flown some 56,000 flight hours completing almost 21,000 journeys.

Russia's state transport regulator Rostransnadzor found violations when it last conducted a routine flight safety inspection of Kogalymavia

But after the inspection, which took place in March 2014, the airline addressed the safety concerns.

However, the RIA Novosti news agency said that the pilot's had expressed concerns about one of the aircraft's engines.

A source told the agency: 'This board (crew) had several times requested help from technical services due to an engine not starting up several times this week.

'Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered his own team of experts to the crash site to determine the cause of the disaster.

He has also declared a day of national mourning.

He has already sent five aircraft to Egypt to assist with the investigation.

The first of his team is expected to arrive in Cairo later this evening before heading to the crash scene.

The Israeli Defence Forces confirmed they had intelligence assets in the region at the time of the crash. According to a statement: 'Since this morning the IDF assisted with aerial surveillance in the efforts to locate the Russian airplane that lost contact over the Sinai Peninsula.

'The IDF has offered continued assistance to both Russia and Egypt if required.'

The wreckage was found roughly 60 miles south of the North Sinai town of El-Arish, Egyptian officials said.

'Military planes have discovered the wreckage of the plane... in a mountainous area, and 45 ambulances have been directed to the site to evacuate dead and wounded,' a cabinet statement said.

One official at the scene said: 'I now see a tragic scene. A lot of dead on the ground and many died whilst strapped to their seats. The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rock. We have extracted at least 100 bodies and the rest are still inside.'

The Egyptian Aviation Ministry said there were 63 men and 138 women on board. The victims range in age from ten-months old to 77.

At Saint Petersburg's Pulkovo airport, anxious family members awaited news of their loved ones.

Ella Smirnova, 25, said: 'I am meeting my parents. I spoke to them last on the phone when they were already on the plane, and then I heard the news."

'I will keep hoping until the end that they are alive, but perhaps I will never see them again.'

Meanwhile, Yulia Zaitseva said her friends, a newlywed couple named Elena Rodina and Alexqander Krotov, were on the flight. Both were 33.

Zaitseva said her friend 'really wanted to go to Egypt, though I told her "why the hell do you want to go to Egypt?" She added: 'We were friends for 20 years. She was a very good friend who was ready to give everything to other people. To lose such a friend is like having your hand cut off.'

She said Rodina's parents feel 'like their lives are over.'

A senior Egyptian aviation official said the plane was a charter flight operated by a Russian company carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members.

The official said the plane was flying at an altitude of 30,000 feet when communication was lost.

A senior official in Egypt air traffic control said that the pilot told him in their last communication that he was having trouble with the plane's radio system.

Russian aviation official Sergei Lzvolsky told Interfax news agency that the Kogalymavia Russian airline had departed Sharm el-Sheikh at 5:51 am local time.

He said the Airbus 321 did not make contact as expected with air traffic controllers in Cyprus.

Reports suggest the pilot was attempting an emergency landing at El-Arish international Airport.

The aircraft took off from Sharm el-Sheikh at 3.51GMT and was due to land in St Petersburg at 09:12GMT.

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched its own probe and is looking for possible 'violations of flight safety procedures'.

Russia's Investigative Committee, the country's top investigative body, has opened an investigation into the crash of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt's Sinai peninsula for possible violations of flight safety procedures.

Committee spokesman Sergei Markin made the announcement in a statement yesterday.

Egyptian authorities confirmed that 'casualties' were being evacuated to local hospitals.

The aircraft is believed to have broken into two sections after the jet crashed.

Early reports said that the bodies of five children have been recovered, still strapped to their seats.

According to Flight Radar 24, the jet was plunging at 5,760 feet per minute when it lost contact with air traffic controllers.

Reports suggest the pilot had warned air traffic controllers of a technical issue on board the aircraft.

Weather conditions were said to be poor at the time of the crash.

Russian media claimed that pilots on the doomed jet had complained earlier this week about engine problems and it is reported they may have sought to divert the aircraft before it plunged to the earth.

The aircraft suffered a 'tail strike' in November 2001 as it attempted to land at Cairo International Airport from Beirut according to an aviation safety website.

The Egyptian prime minister Sharif Ismail said: 'Russian civilian plane... crashed in the central Sinai.'

His office confirmed that a cabinet level crisis committee has been established to deal with the crisis.

It is understood that the aircraft had just taken off on a four-hour flight to St Petersburg when it went missing shortly after take off.

The Airbus A321-231 is believed to have been manufactured in 1997 and is owned by a Dublin-based company.

The aircraft went down in an area where pilots are warned against flying at less than 24,000 feet because of the danger of 'dedicated anti-aircraft weapons'.

The probe into the crash is being headed by Ayman Al-Mokadem according to

He said the pilot had requested a diversion before the incident for a 'technical failure'.

He claimed the pilot had asked for the nearest airport and may have been heading to Al-Arish in northern Sinai.

Reports from local journalists claim that local tribesmen near the remote crash site claimed that the aircraft was 'burning' as it fell from the sky.

US Secretary of State John Kerry offered his condolences during a visit the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan.

He said: 'We don't know any details about it, but obviously the initial reports represent tremendous tragedy, loss, and we extend our condolences to the families and all those concerned.'

By Darren Boyle and Sophie Janie Evans

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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