The Islamic State terrorist group may be capable of shooting down aircraft, like the Russian A-321 passenger jet in Egypt, US National Intelligence Director James Clapper said on Monday.
“It is unlikely, but I would not rule it out,” Clapper said at a Defense One conference in Washington, DC in response to whether the ISIL has anti-aircraft capabilities.
On Saturday, a Russian airliner carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members crashed in the Sinai Peninsula en route from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg. Everyone on board, including 25 children, were confirmed dead in what has become the largest air disaster in Russian and Soviet history.
“I do not have any direct evidence of any terrorist involvement yet,” Clapper said when asked if the Russian A-321 airliner crash was the result of a terrorist attack.
He acknowledged that the Sinai chapter of the Islamic State is “very aggressive,” and explained that after the plane’s black boxes were recovered and analyzed, “Perhaps, we will know more.”
Following the incident, the ISIL took credit for the disaster on Twitter.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Moscow coannot exclude any reason behind the Russian A-321 passenger jet crash in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.