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A Russian jet crashed in Egypt could have been downed by ISIS

Russia’s day of mourning for 224 dead as ISIS release video showing final moments of jet

WT24 Desk Heartbreaking photographs have emerged showing emotional Russians as they lay flowers at the Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg and light candles in one of the city’s Orthodox church, The Sunday Express reports.  The Russian National flag has also been flown half-mast on the top of the Russian Government house and Senate building in Kremlin.It comes as ISIS jihadis released a dramatic video, which could prove the blood-thirsty terrorists did shoot down the doomed airliner.Chilling footage shows the Airbus A-321 jet as it falls through the air, before it appears to explode and engulfs into a ball of smoke and flames.  ISIS jihadis insist they took down the airliner, but yesterday it was claimed that its co-pilot had complained to family that the aircraft’s condition “left much to be desired” shortly before the doomed flight took off.  Russian aviation officials say the plane “broke up in the air” – but it was too early to say why.Meanwhile, Terror Monitor, an online terrorist monitoring organisation, yesterday said it had received a statement from Islamic State militants claiming responsibility for the attack. The group, which watches terrorist groups around the world, tweeted an image of the Arabic statement and wrote: “#IslamicState (#ISIS) terror group claims downing of Russian aircraft in #Sinai.”

The unverified statement, written in Arabic, says the flight crash was NOT a technical fault, as reported by security sources. It goes on to say that the attack was “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land”.  Shocking images also show the mangled wreckage of the doomed airliner and the personal possessions of its passengers strewn across the desert floor.

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail visited the scene yesterday afternoon, at one point being shown the plane’s black box recorder by rescue teams. International airlines have announced they will now reroute their flights to avoid flying over the Sinai area in light of the claims.  German company Lufthansa , Air France, Emirates, flyDubai and Air Arabia have all said they will actively blacklist the area until a clear explanation is provided of what caused the crash.

A spokesman for the Lufthansa said: “We took the decision to avoid the area because the situation and the reasons for the crash were not clear.”  The carrier is the owner of budget airline Germanwings, which was at the centre of one of the worst tragedies in aviation history when crazed pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed flight 4U9525 into the Alps in March this year.

It was also reported in Russian media this evening that the co-pilot on board the plane had complained to his family about its condition. In an interview with state-controlled Russian news channel NTV Natalya Trukhacheva, the wife of co-pilot Sergei Trukachev, said that the aviator had “complained before the flight that the technical condition of the aircraft left much to be desired”She said her husband made the remarks during a phone call to his daughter in the hours before the flight took off.  Egyptian officials initially said that the pilot radioed air traffic control to report a technical problem with the plane just a few minutes into the flight.  Russia has announced a criminal inquiry into the airline and earlier today police raided its offices to search for clues.But a spokeswoman for Metrojet said: “This plane met all the standards required for our flights. If it had had any technical faults that would have meant it couldn’t perform this flight it would not have flown.”  The revelation appears to discredit the claims of ISIS that they were behind the attack, which have already been discounted by both Moscow and the Egyptian authorities.

Last month Moscow launched a bombing campaign against the twisted terror group, which controls vast swathes of Syria and has forced thousands of people to flee the country. Vladimir Putin’s bid to wipe out ISIS has been so successful that almost a million Syrians are elected to return to their homeland.  The translated statement read: “The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders.”They were all killed, thanks be to God.” News agency AFP has also reported ISIS has claimed responsiblity for the downing of the Russian plane.  The agency reported the statement also read: “The soldiers of the caliphate succeeded in bringing down a Russian plane in Sinai.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Facebook page that Russian Embassy personnel in Egypt are working to clarify the situation.

The Russian plane was flying from the popular Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to the Russian city of St Petersburg.  All 224 people onboard the aircraft are believed to be dead. More than 150 bodies, including five children, have already been pulled from the wreckage. There were 217 passengers, including 17 children on the flight.

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