BBC quotes Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Senior Fellow H.A. Hellyer on the possibility of ISIS involvement in the crash of a Russian passenger jet:

Many analysts have been waiting for a high-profile terror attack by IS, according to Dr HA Hellyer, a Middle East expert with the Royal United Services Institute. But the scale of the Metrojet attack would nonetheless be a surprise, he said.

“I don’t think anybody expected an attack on a plane, maybe on a hotel or a kidnapping … but nobody expected something this large,” he said.
“I don’t think it will surprise anyone such a radical and extremist group has targeted civilians, but certainly the nature of this attack is very dramatic.”

If the attack is confirmed it would be a significant propaganda coup for IS, according to Dr Hellyer. “It would mean that they’ve taken out a huge number of civilians at once, and struck a blow against two of their enemies at once, Russia and Egypt.”
And it will remain a success of sorts for IS even if investigators rule that the plane was brought down by a technical fault, he said.

“If it turns out that they didn’t do it, that is still a victory in a sense. We are having this conversation now. They have managed to dominate the discussion, and that in itself is a communications victory.”

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