Intercepted ISIS chatter ‘boasted about Egypt crash’
The U.S. intelligence community intercepted a message from a Sinai group affiliated with ISIS that warned of ‘something big’ before the crash
Communications between ISIS leaders in Raqqa, Syria, and persons in the Sinai Peninsula included boasts about the downing of a Russian passenger jet over the area, NBC reported on Friday, citing unidentified U.S. officials.
“They were clearly celebrating,” NBC Nightly News quoted a U.S. official as saying. The “chatter” included a boast of taking down the plane on Saturday and how it was done.
The U.S. intelligence community intercepted a message from a Sinai group affiliated with ISIS that warned of “something big in the area” before the jet crash.
U.S. steps up screening of flights
The U.S. said Friday it was stepping up security screenings of U.S.-bound flights from some Middle East airports as a precaution after the crash of the Russian airliner in Egypt.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the U.S. also would review its assessments of certain foreign airports and offer them help with security, as well as take other measures, “both seen and unseen.”
There is growing evidence that the plane that crashed Saturday in the Sinai, killing all 224 people, was brought down by an explosion.
Sources close to the investigation told AFP that information from the airliner’s flight data and voice recorders “strongly favors” the theory that a bomb exploded on board the Airbus A321.
Russia suspends Egypt flights
Moscow suspended passenger flights to Egypt, but has said it is premature to reach conclusions that the flight was attacked.
However President Vladimir Putin agreed with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to bolster coordination to secure Russian flights and resume them as soon as possible.
Sisi called Putin and they agreed “to bolster cooperation between the two countries’ relevant agencies to ensure the safety of Russian tourists and strengthen security measures for Russian planes,” a statement said.
International security warnings
Following international security warnings in the wake of the crash, Denmark urged its citizens on Friday to avoid Egypt’s southern Sinai Peninsula, including the Sharm el-Sheikh resort.
The foreign ministry said the advice was based on an assessment of aviation safety made after fresh information was received on Friday, without going into further details.
The Danish ministry said on its website it now advised “against non-essential journeys to the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula, including Sharm el-Sheikh”.
Putin suspends all flights to Egypt on security advicePutin's decision was a response to the unexplained crash of an Airbus A321 in Sinai last Saturday Middle East
Egypt denies halting British flights as tourists evacuateBritish carrier EasyJet operated the first flight to repatriate tourists who have been stranded in Sharm al-Shaikh’s airport Aviation & Transport
Egypt, Russia reject bomb claim over crashed planeBritain says there is a significant possibility that ISIS’s Egyptian affiliate was behind the suspected bomb attack on a Russian airliner Middle East
Bomb ‘may have been carried’ onto Russian planeU.S. and UK say it’s possible an explosive caused the Saint Petersburg-bound jet but Russia and Egypt have downplayed the theory Middle East
France advises against travel to Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resortThe advice from the foreign ministry, updated on its website on Thursday, also concerns the town of Taba Middle East