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August 25, 2004
Too Many Coincidences

Just as on 9/11, the juxtaposition of multiple airline crashes generates a heavy suspicion of terrorism -- only this time the target is Russia and not the US:

Two Russian passenger jets on domestic flights crashed nearly simultaneously after departing from the same terminal in Moscow on Tuesday night, officials said. At least 88 people were presumed dead.

While precise details surrounding the crashes were unclear, the Russian news service Interfax, citing an anonymous official source, reported that minutes after the first plane went down, the second jet issued a distress signal indicating it had been hijacked. Then it, too, disappeared from radar.

As airport security was tightened throughout Russia, President Vladimir V. Putin, who has been vacationing and working in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, ordered the F.S.B., one of the successor agencies to the K.G.B., to begin immediate investigations into the crashes, a spokesman for the president told the news service.

Putin's deployment of the FSB sends a signal that a higher probability of Chechen terrorism exists than just a coincidence of accidents, or even of ground-crew incompetence. Furthering that impression are reports from eyewitnesses who told Russian authorities that they saw and heard an explosion prior to the crash of the first plane, and that the second plane sent a hijack signal prior to disappearing off the radar screen.

Chechen rebels have assassinated the republic's president and attempted to kill the interim leader, and promise to kill whoever wins the upcoming election for the position. It appears they're branching out in a similar manner as that of their al-Qaeda allies. Let's hope that the Russians can track down those who sent the hijackers on their suicide missions before they can escalate their attacks on civilians.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 25, 2004 6:07 AM

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