Incidents » Terrorism

Investigators believe two liners crashed because of explosions

Islamic group claims responsibility for the crashes of the two Russian liners

The Russian Federal Security bureau and the Internal Affairs Ministry started searching for terrorists on board the two crashed jetliners Tu-134 and Tu-154. However, the double terrorist act is still not considered the key version. 

Investigators paid attention to two women. As official lists of victims run, S.Jebirkhanova was flying aboard the Tu-154 and Amanta Salm.Nagayeva was a passenger of the Tu-134 liner. Siberia airline entailed the first suspicion: soon after the crashes spokespeople for the airline said there were reasons to believe it was a terrorist act. It was particularly said that Jebirkhanova was the only passenger of the plane, whose relatives did not make their presence known after the crash.

Police officers have not found out anything about the first suspect yet. A mistake was found in her ticket registration records: Nagayeva's middle name was spelled Salm. (meaning Salmanova), although she was Suleymanova. The woman was born in the settlement of Kirov, the Vedeno district of Chechnya and then she moved to Grozny. “A young single woman, she was not notable for anything. We do not have the information to prove her links with terrorists, the investigation is underway,” a spokesperson for the Interior Affairs Ministry said.

Jebirkhanova raises a lot more suspicions. Investigators determined that the woman's airplane ticket mentioned only her last name. Jebirkhanova's first name was put down as a first letter only – S., her middle name was not entered at all. “We are conducting an internal investigation on the matter,” a spokesman for Siberia airline said.

Reporters from the Gazeta newspaper have managed to get acquainted with preliminary experts' conclusions about the reasons of the two plane crashes. The conclusions were included in the report for the presidential envoy in the southern administrative district, Vladimir Yakovlev. Yakovlev was the first official, who stated that the two liners crashed because of the terrorist act.

The pilots of the two planes, the Gazeta wrote, pressed the alarm buttons several moments prior to the tragedy. The Tu-154 plane, which crashed in the Rostov region of Russia, sent an SOS. The crew of the Tu-134 crashed in the Tula region managed to transmit: “The plane has been attacked.” 

Specialists on explosions found detonation traces on the crash sites. According to preliminary analysis, it is hexogen. At first they were confused with the fact that there were no such traces detected either in the passenger saloons or in the front parts of the two planes. However, specialists found a piece of hull paneling torn up by the roots with the porthole in the rear part of the Tu-154, where the toilet was. Experts believe that it testifies to a small local explosion, which separated the rear part of the jetliner, it spun and fell to pieces.

The results of works on the crash sites confirm such a supposition. The situation is similar in both cases: at first there is the hull on the ground, then there is the front part with the cockpit, followed with the rear part of the plane. If the plane fell apart in the air without any explosion, the tail would fall down on the ground behind the hull, not in front of the cockpit as it virtually happened. 

Meanwhile, one of the Islamic websites posted a statement, which said an Islamic group Islambouli Brigades claimed responsibility for the crash of the two Russian liners.

According to the Assosiated Press, the Islamic group reported in its message that there was 5 mojahedins (Islamic fighters) aboard every plane.

"The Islambouli Brigades" claims that the action was made in support of the victory of Muslims in Chechnya.

The group’s member, lieutenant Heild Islambui was the leader of the group of soldiers who killed Egyptian President Anvar Sadat during the military parade in Cairo in 1981.

Two jetliners Tu-154 and Tu-134 disappeared from radar screens on Tuesday, August 24, at 11 p.m. The two planes were lost with only one minute difference. Tu-134 disappeared in the Tula region, Tu-154 disappeared in the Rostov region. The planes were flying from the Moscow Domodedovo airport. Ninety-five people were killed in the air crashes.