This article first appeared on Newsmax
Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax on Wednesday that reports that a Russian airliner was downed over the weekend by an on-board bomb marked the new frontier in the battle against the Islamic State.
"These folks have a fascination with taking down an airplane," Hoekstra, a Republican who chaired the committee from 2004 to 2007, said in an interview. "You always have these people experimenting with exactly how they want to take down a plane."
"I'm not surprised that ISIS is moving in this direction," he added. "I'm not surprised that ISIS is telling them now — because if they actually did it, they're celebrating a big victory."
"They got a bomb onto a plane. It worked as they intended it to — and it took down a plane, and if it was some type of creative new development, they'd be crazy for telling the world how they did it."
"It's kind of like: 'Until you guys figure it out, you or your people are going to have to be worried about how we got a bomb on a plane,'" he said.
The Airbus A321M jet crashed on Saturday in the Sinai Peninsula shortly after taking off from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on its way to the Russian city of St. Petersburg, killing all 224 people on board.
CNN reported that U.S. intelligence officials said that the bomb could have been planted on board Metrojet Flight 9268 by Islamic State terrorists or one of its affiliates.
"There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane," the official told CNN.
In London, the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement that "as more information has come to light, we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device."
Cameron is scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday. Egypt is a close ally of the United States and is the most populous country in the Arab world.
Egyptian sources told Reuters that the crash was most likely caused by a bomb.
"It is believed to be an explosion but what kind is not clear. There is an examination of the sand at the crash site to try and determine if it was a bomb," the source said.
The individual is close to the team investigating the black boxes, Reuters reports.
"There are forensic investigations underway at the crash site. That will help determine the cause, to see if traces of explosives are found."
The Islamic State, which controls swaths of Iraq and Syria and is battling the Egyptian army in the Sinai Peninsula, said again on Wednesday that it brought down the plane, adding that it would eventually tell the world how it carried out the attack.
Egyptian officials dismissed a similar statement from ISIS on Saturday.
Hoekstra told Newsmax that he was not surprised at the Islamic State's possible connection to the attack.
"When you're taking a look at Egypt, you're talking about a lot of people," he began. "You're talking about the home of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the fount from which all of these radical jihadist groups take their lead."
"You've got a lot of sympathizers. You've got people who might be willing to try to get on the plane with a suicide bomb or you might have workers who are more than willing to be an accomplice and help sneak a package onto a plane that would explode."
"So, I'm not surprised."