Or so they claim.
Yes, I know, it would have been more spectacular to report that ISIS had shot down a MiG-29 or Su-30 fighter in fierce fighting in northern Syria. But the Islamic State knows Sun Tzu's first rule of the Art of War: Never attack your enemy's strengths, always attack your enemy's weaknesses:
A Russian aircraft carrying 224 people, including seventeen children, crashed Saturday in a remote mountainous region in the Sinai Peninsula about twenty minutes after taking off from a Red Sea resort popular with Russian tourists, the Egyptian government said. There were no survivors.
According to Adel Mahgoub, chairman of the state company that runs Egypt's civilian airports, except for three Ukrainian passengers, everyone on board was Russian. An Egyptian Cabinet statement said the 217 passengers were 138 women, sixty-two men and seventeen children. There were seven crew members aboard the eighteen-year-old Airbus 321-200.
A senior aviation official said the pilot had radioed that the aircraft was experiencing technical problems shortly before air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane.
The Russian Embassy in Cairo said on its Twitter account that there were no survivors. Russian investigators were searching the Moscow offices of Metrojet, the company that owned the plane chartered by St. Petersburg-based Brisco tour agency.
Wait for it....wait for it....
A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday, the group said in a statement circulated by supporters on Twitter....
"The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders. They were all killed, thanks be to God," the statement circulated on Twitter said.
Is it real or is it Memorex? Egyptian officials said the Russian Airbus 321-200 was cruising at 36,000 feet when radar contact was lost. The operational ceiling of even the best shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles is 20,000 feet. So unless ISIS managed to steal an entire air defense system and the anti-gravity means to whisk it to remote locales at will, this would seem to be an....overly ambitious boast. And that would be a semi-plausible theory compared to ISIS getting a jihadist suicide operative aboard that Russian plane, even a Chechen Muslim. Far more likely is that this is another instance of that renowned Russian fine craftsmanship in aircraft safety.
But it is a reminder that Russia is at war with the Islamic State - and the latter is acutely well-aware of those hostilities.