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Russia Confirms Terrorism Downed Jet in Sinai

Russia Confirms Terrorism Downed Jet in Sinai

$50 million reward for information

Today the Russian Federal Security Service confirmed that a terrorist bomb was responsible for the crash and destruction of a Russian passenger jet in the Sinai last month.

2.2 pounds of TNT explosives were used to bring the plane down in what officials are saying was “definitely a terrorist act.” Alexander V. Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., told the media today that soon after takeoff an IED exploded, causing the plane to mostly disintegrate in midair. Reports show that “foreign made explosive” was found on what was left for investigators to examine.

The Russian government is offering a $50 million reward for information about the group or individuals who brought the plane down. Officials, however, were hesitant to confirm whether or not they believe or have evidence that ISIS or an ISIS-affiliated group was responsible for the attack. In the immediate wake of the attack, many European airlines suspended all travel over the Hassana area in the Sinai where the wreckage was found. The area has played host to clashes between Egyptian forces and a group of Islamic militants who recently pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State.

Airlines are still operating with an abundance of caution, and many are still refusing to fly into the popular Red Sea resort area the Russian jet had taken off from until security improves.

More from CNN:

CNN spoke Tuesday with Carolyn McCall, chief executive of the UK budget airline EasyJet, who has called for aviation security and regulation to be improved.

“The reason the British government advised all airlines to stop flying to Sharm is that they believed there was a device in the hold of the Metrojet aircraft,” McCall said. “They had inside intelligence giving them that information, so that’s not surprising to anybody in the airline industry, given that the British government took very strong action immediately. Clearly, that is why security has got to be enhanced at Sharm el-Sheikh.”

She said EasyJet had suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh through the end of this month, as have all other British airlines.

“We will not resume flying until we are told unequivocally by the government that it is safe to operate at Sharm el-Sheikh airport,” she said.

Russia has intensified its attacks against ISIS strongholds in Raqqa and possibly other yet-unconfirmed targets in Syria.

From the New York Times:

Russia struck Raqqa with advanced Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a submarine in the eastern Mediterranean, the RBC news agency reported, citing sources in the Russian Defense Ministry. The agency said it was the first time Russia had fired cruise missiles from a submarine during a war.

There were also news agency reports of Russian fighter-bombers hitting Islamic State targets in Syria, but those could not be confirmed.

The strike came after President Vladimir V. Putin ordered an intensification of attacks following Russian confirmation that the crash of the Airbus A321 in Egypt had been caused by a terrorist attack.

In Washington, a Defense Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss another nation’s military strikes, confirmed that the Russians had provided notice before waging “a significant number of strikes in Raqqa” that may have included the use of sea-launched cruise missiles and long-range bombers.

The official said the notice was in accordance with safety protocols that the United States and Russia agreed to in October that are intended to prevent accidents and ensure safe separation during operations in Syria. The United States has not abandoned any operations because of the Russian strikes, the official said.

Keep in mind that this is a departure from Russia’s previous behavior in the region. After Russia began launching their own attacks in Syria, officials confirmed that those strikes were targeting Russian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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Sammy Finkelman | November 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm

TNT? Is somebody still using TNT?

Wasn’t it replaced over 40 years ago by Tovex?

In late 1973, DuPont declared “the last days of dynamite” and switched to the new Tovex formula.

From the same article:

Tovex (also known as Trenchrite, Seismogel, and Seismopac) is a water-gel explosive composed of ammonium nitrate and methylammonium nitrate that has several advantages over traditional dynamite, including lower toxicity and safer manufacture, transport, and storage. It has thus almost entirely replaced dynamite. There are numerous versions ranging from shearing charges to aluminized common blasting agents. Tovex is used by 80% of international oil companies for seismic exploration….

It was climate change.

I’ll accept the $50M reward in 20’s, 50’s and 100’s

Sammy Finkelman | November 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Wait – dynamite is a little bit different from TNT.

While the two words are sometimes used interchangeably in common conversation, TNT is not the same as dynamite, a special formatting of nitroglycerin for use as an industrial explosive.

It is still used, but usually blended with other ingredients.

What a bunch of silliness over the use of dynamite vs TNT vs whatever. Apparently, nobody figured out that it might have been deliberate to use something other than Semtex or similar compounds. Why? To avoid being traced. TNT can be made without sophisticated construction facilities while the Semtex source (for example) can be identified by chemical analysis.

Terrorists are evil but they ain’t stupid.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to platypus. | November 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    No, there’s soemthing wrong with this claim that:

    “2.2 pounds of TNT explosives were used to bring the plane down”

    You don’t really have TNT sold by itself now, and I doubt that anyone would go to the trouble of manufacturing TNT.

    It could still leave clues – in fact more clues – because of the isotopes of the elements which would point to certain oilfields or refineries.

    No. The Russian investigators probably tested only for TNT, and then made a calculation of how much TNT would have been needed to blow up the plane if a bomb was placed at Location X.

    It’s not like they found 2.5 pounds of TNT, or measured it in any other way.

    Egypt complained that Russia is not sharing information with them, and they don’t knmow where they get their conclusions from. they didn’t tell Egyopt what they found – video, or a chemical. (Apparently after this was written, they announced it was TNT)

    Breaking: Islamic State released a photo of the bomb. Or said they did. Or somebody said they were Islamic Satte and did it.

    The bomb appears simple in design: a soda can, presumably packed with explosives, a detonator, and an electronic trigger. The nature of the explosives and trigger device was not disclosed by the Islamic State. Yesterday, Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, said that the bomb had a “capacity” equivalent “of up to 1 kg [2.2. pounds] of TNT.”

So it took a month to confirm what anyone with a brain knew immediately after the crash.

Russia struck Raqqa with advanced Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a submarine in the eastern Mediterranean… There were also news agency reports of Russian fighter-bombers hitting Islamic State targets in Syria, but those could not be confirmed.

I’m actually rather surprised Czar Vlad would fight them US/specifically-targeted/pinprick fashion. I expected Raqqa to be flattened by now, Groznyy-style.

Sammy Finkelman | November 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

If ISIS was destroyed, what reason would the United states have to try to negotiate a ceasefire in the Syrian Civil War taht leaves Assad in power?

Sammy Finkelman | November 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

You know:

A Russian in Raqqa was found to be working for Vladimir Putin’s services. “They had him on video, he admitted to it. I don’t know if it was under pressure, but he confessed.” Another man, a Palestinian, was accused of working for Mossad. Both were executed.

That same person (who claims to have left ISIS and formed his own 78-man group in Aleppo, and first want to but them did travel to Istanbul and back in October) ndicated in part II who is trusted most in ISIS.

The top rank are Iraqis, below you find “Palestinians from Gaza” and lower, local people.

Foreign fighters until recently were mostly used as cannon fodder, and organized in ethnically and language based groups.

Sammy Finkelman | November 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm

May be disinformation. (Iraqi intelligence picked up probable disinformation before the attack – for instance that it was planned in Raqqa and the group was based in France. (it was based in Belguim)

Comments at althouse say:

Petn detonator and looks like an accelerant to push it into. Probably balled up det cord. If so it would get wrapped around the can. The can looks like it would hold a poundish c4. With shrapnel it could have a decent kill radius. Shaped it could cut a small hole in the plane wall. Unshaped It would do little to a mud brick wall and I don’t know how a plane wall compares.

If a small hole will bring down a plane i guess. It doesn’t seem like it would though.

Another person says near a fuel tank would be enough. Another says:

Except that apparently the fuselage broke in two aft of the wing while the plane was at altitude.

Not certain that a pound of C4 or more likely Semtex is strong enough to do that. I think that ISIS is yanking our chain with that photo. I’ll buy the idea that a bomb did it–but I’m not certain it was “that” bomb.

Others note that bomb looks like it would require a manual trigger but ISIS said it killed ” “219 Russians and 5 other crusaders” and there were 224 people on board.

And I can add it’s known for a fact really that none of the passengers were involved.

Now you can also have an explosive

placed properly (by a ground agent) instead of simply being hidden in a luggage bin. Blowing a hole in the aft pressure bulkhead, for example, can tear the plane’s tail apart as what happened to Japan Airlines Flight 123 back in the 1980s.


The aviators here tell me that the Brits, with their de Havilland Comet, had several flights break up in flight in the 1950s, and couldn’t figure out what was causing it. They apparently “reverse pressurized” it by filling it with water and found that it was due to a structural flaw related to the fibreglass windows – the windows would get blown out and the plane would subequently break apart. (They scoff at the Hollywood portrayal of people getting sucked out the openings.) They all tell me that it’s theoretically possible that a guy using this device manually against a window could possibly have brought down this plane, but they don’t buy it.

Furthermore, a dog would detect it. Others note that decompression can be part of it and someone only needs to blow small hole and aerodynamic forces will do the rest.

So what we have here that would be consistent with this claim, is an inside person involved in the plane’s maintenance, plus someone somewhere else who could tell people where to place the explosive.

Blow a small hole in the right place and the plane probably goes down. Get it to the right using someone in the maintenance crew.