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Islamic State ‘develops surface-to-air missile technology’ with aim of shooting down passenger jets

Isil scientists developing remote-control car bombs and have devised key batteries for anti-aircraft missile launchers, according to reports


Their development would be highly significant. While the group has captured large quantities of old missiles, few have been put to use as their batteries had decayed.

Isil have been pushed back in recent months in both Syria and Iraq thanks to their inability to strike back at air attacks from the western allies, and now from Russian jets.

British and other jets could now theoretically be at risk, though the most modern western fighters are probably beyond the threat posed by older surface-to-air missiles of the sort owned by the Syrian army, which Isil would have taken.

Of more concern might be the threat to civilian aircraft, if Isil managed to smuggle such weapons or batteries to operatives around the world – or the instructions on how to make them.

The threat to passenger planes from jihadists has been a constant concern of airlines in recent years, especially since the fall of Col Muammar Gaddafi.

Military experts at the time estimated that 20,000 surface-to-air missiles had gone missing from his stocks in the chaos that followed the civil war. But many of these were also out-of-date.

The new video material was handed to Sky News by the non-Isil rebels of the Free Syrian Army, who found it on an Isil fighter they seized as he passed through their territory apparently on the way to Turkey.

They were apparently unaware of the exact nature of its contents. But when put together, it showed a training school in Raqqa where Isil-sponsored scientists developed new products.

Besides the missile battery, it also showed


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