The Meaning of Jihadist Silence on the EgyptAir Crash

Source. Stratfor

As the investigation into the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 continues and searchers begin to find evidence, the jihadist world has been strangely silent. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft early May 19 and we are now nearly outside the timeframe in which jihadist groups have ordinarily taken credit for attacks. The one obvious explanation for this is that a catastrophic mechanical or electrical failure brought down the aircraft rather than a bomb, but given all of the indications that point to an attack, it is worth exploring the lack of a claim of responsibility and what that means for attributing the cause of the crash.

The primary jihadist actors with the capability and willingness to bring down Flight 804, the Islamic State and al Qaeda, both have sophisticated public relations and media outlets that they can use to quickly claim responsibility for attacks. Looking back to the last air disaster, Russian MetroJet Flight 9268, which went down over the Sinai Peninsula in 2015, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack the same day. Islamic State also claimed other recent attacks in Brussels, Jakarta and Pariswithin a day. Similarly, al Qaeda affiliates behind the series of attacks against West African hotelsclaimed those the same or the following day. The San Bernardino attackers attributed their actions to Islamic State just before carrying them out, but it took the group’s central media arm three days to praise the attack — likely because it was conducted by a grassroots jihadist acting in their name.

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Categories: Africa, Egypt

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