What Caused the Downing of EgyptAir Flight 804?

The tragedy bears the hallmark of Islamic terror.

On Wednesday at 11:09 p.m. (5:09 p.m. ET) Egypt Air Flight 804 took off from Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport to its destination of Cairo. It never reached its destination. Greek air controllers lost radar contact with the doomed flight at 2:29 a.m. The Airbus was carrying 56 passengers (mostly French and Egyptian citizens) and 10 crewmembers, all of whom perished in the deadly crash. The captain of a merchant ship in the area reported seeing a “flame in the sky” at about the time that the plane went missing.

Greek and U.S. rescue and military forces have been dispatched to the Mediterranean waters off Greece to scour for the plane’s wreckage and the black box, which may lead to clues as to the cause of the tragedy. Authorities have already recovered some wreckage and the search operation is ongoing.

Greek air controllers noted that the plane had acted erratically just before it dropped off radar. Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kammenos stated that “the plane carried out a 90-degree turn to the left and a 360-degree turn to the right, falling from 37,000 to 15,000 feet and the signal was lost at around 10,000 feet.”

It is still unclear what brought down the airliner but many analysts are speculating that terrorism was the cause, attributing the plane’s demise to a suicide bomber or a bomb smuggled aboard the aircraft.  Egypt’s Civil Aviation minister Sherif Fathy acknowledged that terrorism was the most likely conclusion. The violent and sudden banking and spinning of the plane just before it crashed into the sea may have been indicative of a struggle in the cockpit. 

Authorities have noted that those listed on the passenger manifest have not been determined to have links to terrorist groups. But this fact by itself may not be dispositive of absence of terrorism.  An innocent passenger could have been duped into bringing a bomb aboard undetected. In 1986, Israeli security personnel at Heathrow airport discovered 3.3 lb of Semtex explosives in the bag of an Irish woman in her fifth month of pregnancy. She was attempting to board a Tel-Aviv bound El-Al plane before being intercepted. After an investigation, it was determined that the woman had no knowledge of the bomb and it was given to her by her Jordanian-Palestinian fiancé, Nezar Hindawi. Hindawi was later arrested and sentenced to 45 years in prison. 

If terrorism was the cause, the likely culprit is ISIS and thanks to France’s liberal immigration laws and appeasement policies, France has become the epicenter of the genocidal group’s activities in Europe. France’s internal intelligence agency had warned just one week prior to the Flight 804 tragedy that ISIS was planning more attacks against France.

On May 10, Patrick Calvar, the head of the French DGSI, France’s CIA-equivalent, informed a parliamentary committee on national defense that the Islamic State was planning “a new form of attack.” France is already reeling from a series of deadly terror attacks perpetrated by the group and while the government has increased security, its open border policies coupled with its large, radicalized Muslim population are a magnet for Islamic operatives crisscrossing through European Union countries.  

If terrorism was the cause, it would not be the first time that ISIS brought down a commercial airliner. On October 31, 2015 a St Petersburg-bound Russian airliner taking off from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh exploded mid-air and crashed in the Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 aboard. Israeli intelligence definitively confirmed that ISIS had been responsible for the outrage and the Israeli analysis was later confirmed by other intelligence agencies. The bomb had been smuggled aboard the plane with the assistance of Egyptian airport personnel. The possibility that such a scenario unfolded at Charles de Gaulle Airport cannot be discounted.

EgyptAir has an abysmal flight history laced with skyjackings and crashes. The most infamous of these occurred in 1999 when a Cairo-bound flight from New York crashed shortly after takeoff near Nantucket Island killing all 217 aboard, including nearly three dozen, high-level Egyptian military officials. In that case, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the Egyptian co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane. Cockpit recording devices recorded the co-pilot yelling, “I rely on Allah,” while carrying out his depraved act.

It is clear that Islamic radicals are attempting to broaden their conflict and export their violence to the shores of Europe. Irresponsible European immigration and open border policies that have allowed hundreds of thousands of young Muslim men to enter Europe has provided Islamic terrorist groups with the necessary resources to cause mayhem on the continent.  The United States should take heed.