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Russian plane crash caused by IS planted bomb: US intelligence

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Washington: The latest US intelligence suggests that the crash of a Russian passenger plane in Egypt was most likely caused by a bomb planted by the terror group Islamic State (IS) or its affiliate, CNN reported on Wednesday.

A US official quoted by CNN said: “There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane.”

The assessment was reached by looking back at intelligence reports that had been gathered before and after Saturday’s crash of the Metrojet Flight 9268 in Egypt’s Sinai that killed all 224 people aboard, CNN quoted the official as saying.

But the official added that there has not been a formal conclusion reached by the US intelligence community on the cause of the crash.

The plane, which was heading to St. Petersburg, Russia, crashed about 23 minutes after taking off from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. Most of the passengers were Russian citizens.

There “had been additional activity in Sinai that had caught our attention,” the US official said.

The intelligence regarding the IS is in part based on monitoring of internal messages of the terrorist group, another US official said.

Those messages are separate from public IS claims of responsibility, that official said.

Sinai Province, a militant Egyptian group affiliated with the IS, claimed responsibility for Saturday’s downing of the Russian plane through a statement. The group has been active in Sinai fighting with Egyptian security forces.

But the claim has not been verified by Egyptian and Russian officials.

US intelligence officials told the media on Monday that infrared US satellite detected a heat flash at the same time and vicinity over the Sinai peninsula where the plane crashed, suggesting a mid-air explosion.

(IANS)

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The Son Of The Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi Dies: IS

Al-Baghdadi's fate is still unknown

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This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son.
This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son. VOA

The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.

Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.

“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.

Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.

The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.

An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

Islamic Terrorism in NYC
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. VOA

Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.

Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.

Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

Also read: Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

It was reported that only the girl was al-Baghdadi’s daughter. The two boys belonged to a man his wife had married before meeting al-Baghdadi. (IANS)