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British PM David Cameron Says It's "More Likely Than Not" A Bomb Brought Down Russian Plane Killing 224. ISIS Claims Responsibility (Video)
A photograph purporting to show the crude bomb used to down a Russian airliner last month has been published in the latest edition of ISIS's propaganda magazine.
Published in the monthly magazine 'Dabiq', the image of a soft drink can and detonator is captioned: 'EXCLUSIVE - Image of the IED used to being down the Russian airliner'.
It comes just a day after Russia finally acknowledged the passenger jet was downed by a bomb over the Sinai desert, killing 224 people.
The latest edition of the jihadi magazine also revealed ISIS was planning to strike a jet belonging to a member of the US-led bombing coalition - before switching its focus to Russia at the last minute.
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Pictured is the image published in the ISIS magazine purported to be of the IED used to destroy the jet
A second image published in the magazine purported to show passports of victims of the attack. Like the picture of the purported bomb, it too was captioned as an 'exclusive'
Russian technical experts said that the aircraft was destroyed by a homemade 1.5kg bomb
Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to wage war on the Islamic terrorists in the wake of jet's destruction
It is not clear if the bomb pictured is of the exact explosive used in the downing of the plane, nor has its authenticity been verified.
The magazine stated the bombing was in response to Russia's 'rash decision of arrogance' to begin airstrikes on rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad.
'After having discovered a way to compromise the security at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport and resolving to bring down a plane belonging to a nation in the American-led Western coalition against the Islamic State, the target was changed to a Russian plane.
'A bomb was smuggled onto the airplane leading to the deaths of 219 Russians and 5 other crusaders only a month after Russia’s thoughtless decision.
'This was to show the Russians and whoever allies with them that they will have no safety in the lands and airspace of the Muslims, that their daily killing of dozens in Sham through their airstrikes will only bring them calamities, and that just as they kill, they will be killed, by Allah’s permission.'
Magazine authors also alluded to the killings in Paris on Friday, stating the attacks 'shook the world and reminded the nations of kufr that the Islamic State will continue to stand firm in the face of their transgressions'.
The latest edition of the jihadi magazine (pictured) features an image of the Paris attacks on the front page and is titled 'Just Terror'
It added ISIS would 'retaliate with fire and bloodshed in revenge for the honor of the Prophet and the multitudes killed and injured in crusader airstrikes in the lands of the Muslims'.
Like the statements on the bombing of the Russian jet, it was claimed to have been carried out in response to France's participation in air strikes in Syria and Iraq.
It claimed: '[France] also did not grasp that its mockery of the Messenger would not be left unavenged.
'Thus, the Islamic State dispatched its brave knights to wage war in the homelands of the wicked crusaders, leaving Paris and its residents "shocked and awed". The eight knights brought Paris down on its knees, after years of French conceit in the face of Islam.'
Meanwhile, today it emerged the bomb that downed the Russian jet had been placed in the aircraft's main cabin not in the cargo compartment as reported earlier, the daily Kommersant reported, citing an unnamed source.
The newspaper, citing a source close to the investigation of the crash, said the epicentre of the explosion appeared to have been at the rear of the cabin near the tail section.
'According to a preliminary version, the bomb could have been laid under the passenger seat by the window. Its operation has led to the destruction of the frame and depressurisation of the cabin, which had an explosive character.'
Yesterday Vladimir Putin finally acknowledged the jet was blown up by a home-made bomb containing 1.5kg of explosives, resulting in the loss of 224 lives.
All 224 people on board were killed in the crash. President Vladimir Putin vowed yesterday to hunt down those responsible and intensified air strikes against militants in Syria
The Airbus A321 disappeared 23 minutes after leaving Sharm el-Sheikh airport en-route to St Petersburg on October 31.
Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB security agency told Russian President Vladimir Putin: 'One can say unambiguously that it was a terror act.
The attacks on Paris and need to confront ISIS has brought a thawing in relations between President Putin, right, and western governments which imposed sanctions on Russia over the civil war in Ukraine
In a section labelled 'A Selection of Military Operations by the Islamic State', magazine authors reiterate the claim ISIS was responsible for two recent murders in Bangladesh.
Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella was gunned down on September 28 by a group of men on a motorbike. And on the October 3, Japanese citizen Kunio Hoshi, 65, was gunned down.
In the latest publication of its propaganda magazine, it was claimed an ISIS 'security cell targeted and killed the Italian crusader Cesare Tavella' after 'following him on one of the streets of the city of Dhaka'.
It continued: 'Just five days later, they struck again, targeting Kunio Hoshi, a citizen of Japan, one of the member nations of the crusader coalition.
'He was closely tracked and eliminated in the city of Rangpur using a firearm.'
Although it also claimed responsibility in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, police have not confirmed ISIS, which has ambitions to spread into South Asia, is behind the two attacks.
The body of Italian citizen Cesare Tavella, who was gunned down in Dhaka, is carried towards an ambulance
'An improvised bomb with a capacity of up to 1.5 kg of TNT exploded on the fight. As a result, the aircraft was torn apart in the air, which explains the large distance over which the pieces of the fuselage of the aircraft have scattered.'
President Putin has vowed to avenge the perpetrators: 'It's not the first time Russia faces barbaric terrorist crimes.'
His country would 'never forget' such attacks.
'Killing our people at Sinai is among the most bloody crimes judging by the number of victims. And we won't wipe our tears away from our hearts and souls. It will remain with us forever.
Russia has sent the guided missile cruiser Moskva, pictured, to the Mediterranean to attack ISIS targets
The Russian MoD released this footage taken from a Su-24M on a bombing missing above Syria
'But it won't stop us from finding and punishing the criminals.' He vowed: 'We must do it without time limitation.
'We must know each name. We will search for them everywhere, wherever they will hide. We will find them in any part of planet and punish them. There is no statute of limitation on this.'
He added: 'The combat work of our aviation in Syria must not only be continued. It must be intensified so that the criminals understand that vengeance is inevitable.'
As a result, Putin has ordered an increase in the intensity of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria. This came as France launched a second night of raids against terror locations in Raqqa in response to the Paris massacre. It was later reported that airstrikes had increased in Syria, with Russia using both sea-launched cruise missiles and long range bombers.
Mr Cameron has previously angered the Russian president by suggesting he has the ‘blood of Syrian children’ on his hands because of his support for Assad.
But Downing Street has signalled that the Prime Minister would now tone down the rhetoric.
‘This is about getting a hard-headed agreement on issues that matter to us,’ a source said. ‘The Prime Minister will approach this in a way that tries to make some progress with Putin.’
No 10 also confirmed that today’s talks are part of a wider Western push to persuade Mr Putin to soften his support for Assad and join the fight against ISIS.
Ramzan Kadyrov has said there is 'no court hearings needed' for the killing of jihadis
Terrorists behind the downing of the Russian tourist jet should be strapped to drones and dropped from the air on the ISIS frontline, demanded a top Vladimir Putin lieutenant on Tuesday.
Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov - a Muslim - called for 'violent punishment' for all those responsible for blowing the Airbus A321 out of the sky last month.
They should be killed by being dropped like human bombs on the heads of fellow jihadists, he claimed.
'People should know when, where and in what circumstances each and every one of them is destroyed,' he said.
'I suggest hanging the detained to the unmanned flying devices attacking ISIS positions, and dropping them on the heads of their peers.
'No court hearings needed.'
Passenger Jet With 224 On Board Crashes in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula (Video)
British Prime Minister David Cameron declared Thursday it was "more likely than not" that a bomb brought down a Metrojet flight packed with Russian vacationers — a scenario that officials from Russia and Egypt tried to dismiss as premature speculation.
Cameron said he had grounded all flights to and from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, stranding thousands of British tourists at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, because of "intelligence and information" indicating that a bomb was the likely culprit in the crash Saturday that killed 224 people.
Islamic State group has claimed that it brought down the plane in the Sinai, a report rejected by Russian and Egyptian officials as not credible. Egypt is fighting an Islamic insurgency in the area where the plane crashed.
Cameron said he had "every sympathy" with the Egyptians, who rely so heavily on tourism, but added he had to "put the safety of British people first."
"We don't know for certain that it was a terrorist bomb ... (but it's a) strong possibility," Cameron said at his London office at 10 Downing St. shortly before a previously scheduled meeting with Egypt's president. "There's still an investigation taking place in Egypt. We need to see the results of that investigation."
He said he would call Russian President Vladimir Putin later Thursday to discuss the crash.
A British team is working to tighten security at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport with an eye toward resuming flights. Cameron said "we want to start as soon as possible" to bring tourists home, and empty planes will be flying out from Britain to bring people back.
But the British leader cautioned it would take "some time" to repatriate the thousands of Britons in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
A spokesman for Putin, Dmitry Peskov, insisted that aviation investigators were working on all possible theories as to why the Airbus A321-200 carrying 224 people crashed Saturday in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing everyone on board. He said naming just one possibility was mere speculation.
"One cannot rule out a single theory, but at this point there are no reasons to voice just one theory as reliable — only investigators can do that," Peskov told reporters in Moscow.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said if Britain had information about the bomb, it's "really shocking" that it hasn't shared it with Russia. She urged Britain to immediately give any such information to the investigators.
Egyptian officials have condemned Britain's travel ban as an overreaction. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who was in London on a visit Thursday, has called the IS claim "propaganda."
Russia's top aviation official, Alexander Neradko, said in televised remarks Thursday that investigators are pursuing several theories as to why the plane crashed. He said they are looking for traces of explosives on the victims' bodies, their baggage and the plane debris as well as studying other "aspects linked to a possible terrorist attack on board."
Neradko said the probe is likely to take several months and called for caution in speculation about the likely causes of the crash.
In the ancient city of Luxor on Thursday, Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty rejected the U.S. and British allegations outright.
"(The crash) is not a terror act. It was an accident," he declared as authorities opened three tombs to the public for the first time in an effort to encourage tourism. "(It's) very sad what happened, but we have to wait for the result of the investigation."
Egypt's minister of civil aviation, Hossam Kamal, insisted Thursday that the country's airports comply with international security standards.
He said, regarding U.S. and British allegations that the Russian flight may have been downed by a bomb, "the investigation team does not have yet any evidence or data confirming this hypothesis."
Metrojet suspended all flights of Airbus A321 jets in its fleet after the crash, the Russian Federal Transport Agency said Thursday. The company has ruled out a pilot error or a technical fault as a possible cause of the crash, drawing criticism from Russian officials for speaking with such certainty too soon.
Intercepted communications played a role in the tentative conclusion that the Islamic State group's Sinai affiliate planted an explosive device on the plane, said a U.S. official briefed on the matter. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss intelligence matters publicly.
The official and others said there had been no formal judgment rendered by the CIA or other intelligence agencies, and that forensic evidence from the blast site, including the airplane's black box, was still being analyzed.
The official added that intelligence analysts don't believe the operation was ordered by Islamic State leaders in Raqqa, Syria, but possibly planned and executed by the Islamic State's affiliate in the Sinai, which operates autonomously.
In Sharm el-Sheikh, British tourists said they understand their government's move to suspend flights. Paul Modley, a 49-year-old Londoner, has travelled to Sharm el-Sheikh seven times in the last nine years.
"We understand why the government have done it, but I am really worried for the Egyptian people because — particularly in the Red Sea resorts — they are so dependent on tourism," said Modley.
On the ground in the Sinai, rescue teams have retrieved 140 bodies from the scene and more than 100 body parts. Russian rescue workers, combing a 40 square kilometer (15.4 sq. mile) area, should be finishing their search for remains and wreckage by Thursday evening, according to Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov.
Grief continued to roil St. Petersburg and its suburbs, as mourners brought more flowers, candles and paper planes to the city's imperial-era square and the airport where the crashed Metrojet flight had been due to land.
In the ancient Russian city of Veliky Novgorod, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of St. Petersburg, the first crash victim was buried Thursday after a church service in a whitewashed 16th-century church overlooking the Volkhov River.
Family and friends said goodbye to Nina Lushchenko, 60, who worked in a school canteen, remembering her as a good mother and grandmother.
This version corrects the crashed plane to an A321-200, instead of A320-200.
Vasilyeva reported from Moscow. Brian Rohan from Luxor, Egypt, Ken Dilanian in Washington, Jill Lawless in London and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and Dmitry Lovetsky in Veliky Novgorod, Russia also contributed.
A Russian aircraft carrying more than 220 people crashed Saturday in a remote mountainous region in the Sinai Peninsula more than 20 minutes after takeoff from a Red Sea resort popular with Russian tourists, Egypt's Ministry of Civil Aviation said.
It is not immediately known whether there are any survivors among the 217 passengers and seven crew members but an Egyptian government spokesman said 50 ambulances were headed to the crash site to offer medical care if needed.
Adel Mahgoub, chairman of the state company that runs Egypt's civilian airports, said all passengers and crew were Russian citizens.
A ministry statement said Egyptian military search and rescue teams found the wreckage of the passenger jet in the Hassana area south of the city of el-Arish, an area in northern Sinai where Egyptian security forces are fighting a burgeoning Islamic militant insurgency led by a local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group.
It said the plane, believed to be an Airbus model, took off from Sharm el-Sheikh shortly before 6 a.m. for St. Petersburg in Russia and disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes after takeoff. The reported time lapse between takeoff and loss of contact with the aircraft means that the plane was possibly flying at a cruising altitude of some 30,000 feet when it crashed.
Militants in northern Sinai have not to date shot down commercial airliners or fighter-jets. There have been persistent media reports that they have acquired Russian shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles. But these types of missiles can only be effective against low-flying aircraft or helicopters. In January 2014, Sinai-based militants claimed to have shot down a military helicopter; Egyptian officials at the time acknowledged the helicopter had crashed, but gave no reason.
Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal said an investigative team has arrived at the crash site to examine the debris and locate the flight's recorders, or the "black box."
Separately, Russia's Investigative Committee, the country's top investigative body, has opened an investigation into the crash, according to a statement issued Saturday by committee spokesman Sergei Markin.
Earlier in the day, an Egyptian official with the government's Aviation Incidents Committee told local media that the plane had briefly lost contact but was now safely in Turkish airspace.
Later, the same official, Ayman al-Muqadem, said the plane has crashed and that the 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.
It was not immediately possible to independently confirm that technical problems caused the plane to crash.
Mahgoub said the aircraft had successfully undergone technical checks while at Sharm el-Sheikh's airport. A technical committee from the company was headed to Sharm el-Sheikh to collect security camera footage of the plane while it sat at the airport, including operations to supply it with fuel and passenger meals as well security checks, he said.
Roughly three million Russian tourists, or nearly a third of all visitors in 2014, come to Egypt every year, mostly to Red Sea resorts in Sinai or in mainland Egypt.
"It is too premature to detect the impact this will have on tourism. We need to know what happened first," Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Rasha Azazi told The Associated Press.