Are Russian Aircrafts Being Attacked?
By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, November 04, 2015

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On November 4, a Russian cargo plane crash-landed in South Sudan, the nation’s second aircraft incident in days. Reports said the plane went down moments after takeoff. Reuters reported 10 deaths.  

Other news sources said up to 40 passengers, crew, and others on the ground perished, only two on board survived. It’s believed around five crew members and seven passengers were aboard the flight, the exact number unclear as this is written.

The crash site was around 800 meters from Juba airport. Reuters reported witnesses saying the plane’s tail fin and other parts were scattered in the area.

The flight was headed to Paloich in Sudan’s Upper Nile region. Little more is known at this time. The incident followed the October 31 downing of Russian airliner Kolavia Metrojet Flight 7K9268, killing all 217 passengers and seven crew members aboard.

An investigation remains ongoing to determine the cause of the crash. What first looked like a technical failure now may be something more sinister. It’s too early to know for sure.

On November 3, Sputnik News quoted an unnamed Egyptian forensic expert involved in examining crash victims, saying

“A large number of body parts may indicate that a powerful explosion took place aboard the plane before it hit the ground.”

Months may be needed to reconstruct the plane, complete forensic exams of victims, and determine the cause of the crash. RT International quoted the Russian tabloid LifeNews saying initial forensic examinations indicate passengers “in the tail section of the liner died because of so-called blast injuries.”

Burns covered over 90% of their bodies, said LifeNews. Metal particles and other objects pierced their bodies. Front end passengers died from multiple fractures, head wounds, blood loss and shock.

Tass reported otherwise, citing Russian and Egyptian experts, indicating no blast related trauma found in preliminary examinations of victims. An unnamed source said “(t)here were no signs of an explosion impact found…”

An Egyptian source indicated “no signs of external impact” found on bodies examined. No official announcements were made. Aviation expert Anil Padhra told RT examination of victims’ injuries isn’t the most reliable way to determine the cause of the crash.

“It’s too early to say categorically whether or not the plane broke up in the air,” he said. “It’s difficult to tell what the injuries would have been if there was an explosion onboard. And I think it’s difficult to tell how it would be different to injuries sustained when the bodies impacted the ground.”

Padra mentioned another possibility – the aircraft colliding with another object, maybe a drone operating over Sinai, a known conflict area. Drones can fly at high altitudes, Padhra explained.

A US reported satellite detected heat flash in the area is inconclusive, according to retired flight commander Sultan Mahmoud Hali, telling RT: “A large number of body parts may indicate that a powerful explosion took place aboard the plane before it hit the ground.”

A bomb planted on board remains possible crash cause. RT said Egyptian airport security is lax, screenings inadequate. Any number of factors may be responsible for what happened, why it’s important to wait for at least a preliminary assessment to draw meaningful conclusions.

It’ll take a month or longer to fully examine the contents of both black boxes recovered, invaluable information crucial to determining the crash’s cause.

On November 4, Global Research reported US/Israeli operation “Blue Flag” or “Blue Skies” air combat drills ongoing in the Arava desert, directly east of Sinai, both areas adjacent to each other – when the Russian airliner went down on Saturday.

A report was cited, saying Greek and Polish aircraft were involved in “the largest aerial exercise in the history of the Israeli Air Force,” beginning on October 30, the day before the crash.

Draw your own conclusions. Best to wait for Russia’s assessment once preliminary and final analyses are concluded. For now, it’s clear to say suspicions of foul play are warranted, yet to be proved or disproved.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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