Just one day after Russian officials confirmed that an improvised explosive device (IED) brought down Metrojet Flight 9268 over the Egyptian Sinai on Oct. 31, the Islamic State released an image of what it claims is the bomb that brought down the airliner.
The Islamic State released a photograph of the bomb (above, right) as well as what it claims are images of passports of Russians who were killed in the explosion and subsequent crash, in issue number 12 of its English language magazine, Dabiq. All 224 passengers and crew were killed in the attack.
The photograph of the IED is captioned “EXCLUSIVE: Image of the IED used to bring down the Russian airliner.” The Russian passports, which are superimposed on wreckage of the airliner, appears to have been taken from a news agency. It is unclear how the Islamic State would obtain passports from the crash scene, which was heavily guarded.
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.”
The Islamic State’s so-called Sinai “province” issued a claim of responsibility hours after the airliner crashed. The Islamic State and its Sinai “branch” have repeated that claim several times since then.
The accompanying article did not detail the nature of the IED, but instead justified the airline bombing as well as the Nov. 13 suicide assault in Paris, France, that killed 129 people. The Islamic State said the attacks were to avenge Russian and Syrian airstrikes against the group in Syria.
“The divided crusaders of the East and West thought themselves safe in their jets as they cowardly bombarded the Muslims of the Khilāfah,” or the “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State is based.
“But Allah decreed that punishment befall the warring crusaders from where they had not expected,” the article continued. “Thus, the blessed attacks against the Russians and the French were successfully executed despite the international intelligence war against the Islamic State. Both crusader nations had undoubtedly destroyed their homes with their own hands through their hostilities towards Islam, the Muslims, and the Muslim body of the Khilāfah.”
The Islamic State claimed that after penetrating security at the airport in Sharm el Sheikh, it planned on bringing down an airliner from a Western country, but then shifted its focus on a Russian aircraft.
“And so 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,” the article claimed. “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” to conduct airstrikes in Syria.
The Islamic State then threatened further attacks on the West, and said that the recent attack in Paris and against the Russian airliner is merely the beginning.
“Muslims today have a loud, thundering statement, and possess heavy boots. They will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism, and boots that will trample the idol of nationalism, destroy the idol of democracy, and uncover its deviant nature.”