Air Algerie AH5017 an Act of Terrorism, Timeline of Events Suggest

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By Athena Yenko | July 26, 2014 3:02 PM EST

The timeline of events and scenarios surrounding the crashed Air Algerie AH5017 suggest that the plane could be an act of terrorism.

REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
An Air Algerie Airways plane prepares to land at Houari Boumediene Airport in Algiers July 24, 2014. An Air Algerie flight crashed on Thursday en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board, an Algerian aviation official said. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi (Algeria - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT)

According to reports, 100 French soldiers were already deployed to the crash site of Air Algerie AH5017. These 100 soldiers were the same team that was deployed to Mali in 2013 to fight the Islamist group in the region which reportedly is being supported by al-Qaeda.

Furthermore, the wreckage of the plane was found between Aguelhoc and Kidal where rebels supported by al Qaeda were widespread.

Most importantly, the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Washington had issued a stern warning against flying above the airspace in the region where the plane crashed.

"US operators and airmen should avoid operating into, out of, within or over Mali. There is a risk to the safety of US civil flights operating into, out of, within or over Mali from small-arms, rocket propelled grenades, rockets and mortars, and anti-aircraft fire, to include shoulder-fired, man portable air defence systems," FAA said in its warning.

These scenarios could imply that the Air Algerie flight AH5017 could have been crashed by an insurgent activity, a report from The Telegraph concludes.

The warning from the FAA applies to plane crossing at an altitude of 24,000 feet or less. Air Algerie AH5017 was flying more than 24,000 feet. However, the possibility that it flew below that altitude existed because of poor weather conditions.

French officials had rejected the speculation of an act of terrorism and reports from Reuters and AFP confirmed that insurgent activities in Mali diminished after a peace agreement was settled.

However, The Telegraph underlined that al-Qaeda did not participate in the peace agreement.

An al-Qaeda supported Islamist group was reportedly responsible for the attack on the convoy of Prime Minister Moussa Mara in May.

If an act of terrorism is to be taken out of the equation, pilot error and mechanical failure would likely be the cause of the plane crash.

But then again, Swiftair, the airline operating the MD-83 on behalf of Air Algerie and the Air Algerie plane MD-83  itself has impressive aviation record. Swiftair had only four accidents since 1986. The MD-83 only had four accidents since 1983.

The plane running out of fuel is out of the question as witnesses testified that there had been explosion heard and that Swiftair had always abide by the fuel requirements imposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

French President Francoise Hollande said that the plane may have crashed due to bad weather, "But we are ruling nothing out because we want to know everything," he told press Friday.

Mr Hollande also said that the plane was found in "disintegrated state."  

Aviation experts said a storm could not cause a crashed plane to be in the "disintegrated state" the way Air Algerie AH5017 was found.

Jean Serrat, a former airline pilot, considers "either a terror strike on board" or a missile strike.

Meanwhile, Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister said nothing is very ruled out at present.

"We cannot, we must not rule out any theory before having all the evidence at our disposal."

"We found almost nothing wrong, it was in a really good state," Patrick Gandil, director general of France's civili aviation authority said when asked about the plane's condition before flying.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Louafi Larbi / )
An Air Algerie Airways plane prepares to land at Houari Boumediene Airport in Algiers July 24, 2014. An Air Algerie flight crashed on Thursday en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board, an Algerian aviation official said. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi (Algeria - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT)
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