Immediately after the collapse of the Russian Airbus in North Sinai, appeared on the Internet video in which a man who calls himself the head of the Sinai "Islamic state" cells (banned in the territory of the Russian Federation), announced that it was his group was hit by the plane. Later came another video, which says that the plane was "destroyed" and not "shot down", as it was in the original version. Man, filmed in commercials, says the incident - "revenge on Russia for taking part in a military operation in Syria," but on the present evidence says that they will not be: "We will wait."
In the commercials, which are now removed from public view, a person who takes responsibility for the death of the Russian airliner, calls himself Abu Osama al-Masri. According to British sources, it is "Islamic" name, their real names terrorists prefer to hide. He is an Egyptian suspected him 42 years. He graduated from one of the most famous universities of the Islamic world Al-Azhar University in Cairo, therefore, comes not from a poor family. Some time was engaged in wholesalehowling trade clothing. That's all that we know about him.
In the public space of the name Al-Masri first surfaced in 2010 when the north of the Sinai Peninsula was seen activity of the new Islamist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis ( "defenders of the holy city of Jerusalem"), spiritual leader and he himself announced. The backbone of the group were Bedouins, but the group also consisted of Egyptians and people from Sudan. As reported by "New" our sources in Egypt, then (and still) all activity groups was purely local and stemmed from the geographical position of the Northern Sinai, as well as its social structure.
Sinai is fundamentally different from the rest of Egypt. The peninsula is inhabited by nomadic Bedouin tribes who neither blood nor culturally are not related to the Egyptians and did not associate themselves with the rest, the continental part of the country.
Administrative Sinai is divided into two parts - north and south. South Peninsula is rich. Luxury hotels and infrastructure have long made it a mecca for hundreds of thousands of tourists. The botourists rode it bigger to rest on the Egyptian resorts, the more insistent the government was pushing the Bedouin tribes of the north, to the desert. This caused and causes acute dissatisfaction with the indigenous population (the Sinai is inhabited by about half a million people).
North Sinai is almost completely excluded from the Egyptian economy. In the early 2000s, when then-President Mubarak was talk here about the construction of an irrigation canal to stimulate the development of agriculture. Channel even began to build, but it does not end well: the risks were deemed too high.
Most of the North Sinai overpopulated and poor. Bedouins difficult to find a job not only there, but also in Egypt: they are not allowed to serve in the Egyptian army and to work in law enforcement agencies, and other professional skills of the people for centuries to bear arms, there is simply no. Therefore, the main income of the local population - the smuggling of goods and illegal transit of people across the border into the neighboring Gaza Strip and Israel.
According to the agreement of 1979 between Egypt and Israel, the Egyptian authorities are entitled deployedbe in Sinai strictly limited military contingent, which basically controls the major cities on the Red Sea coast. The rest of the Northern Sinai is not controlled by the state. But here there are numerous Islamist groups that use the protests of the local population to justify their radical actions.
In the North Sinai group Al-Masri was one of many unremarkable teams. Finest hour for it came in 2011, when the background of the revolution in Egypt, it was the largest active jihadist cell in the region. Then the group swore allegiance to Al-Qaeda (forbidden in the territory of the Russian Federation), and began to receive funding and instructors from Yemen (where the headquarters of Al-Qaeda). In addition, during the revolutionary chaos all over Egypt were dissolved in prison and thousands of prisoners, among whom there were hundreds of Bedouin chiefs, began to return home and join in Islamist movements, mainly to fight against the hated Egyptian authorities.
After the overthrow of the preuserid Mursi in 2013 came to power, the military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Immediately after the inauguration of one of its main priorities in domestic policy he announced "a relentless struggle against the terrorists of the Northern Sinai."
In April 2014 an Egyptian court found Ansar Beit al-Maqdis terrorist group, its members began to mercilessly destroy. The region has frequent counter-terrorism special operations and pinpoint raids of government troops. Dozens of smuggling tunnels leading into Gaza, were covered. The border with Gaza and Israel declared a buffer zone, which is trying to control the army.
Such actions of the government response have caused a wave of terror. Explosions, assassinations, attacks began to occur on a daily basis. The struggle was not only for control of the territory, but also for the physical survival of the region for which smuggling - the only source of livelihood.
In this situation, Al-Masri and decided to swear allegiance to the "Islamic State", as announced in November 2014. The group became known as VilaInayat and submit to the IG. Almost immediately there flowed financial aid from Qatar and Libya, and therefore began to replenish the ranks of hundreds of new members. The group has been able to open a full front against the Egyptian troops, coupled constraints imposed on them by the agreement with Israel. Nevertheless, the Government is committed, and in October of this year, the beginning of the most massive and intense offensive in the North Sinai over the past five years. Moreover, dug a canal from the Mediterranean Sea fifteen meters deep, which should finally cut off the opportunity for the construction of tunnels across the border.
Against the background of this situation, on October 31 the Russian plane was lost in the wilderness of North Sinai. The next day the group Al-Masri has hastened to take responsibility for themselves.
This statement is politically profitable for the group trapped on the border with Israel, it takes a little-known cell to the next level. The level, which for decades has remained elusive, even for a specialist in the manufacture of bombs in Al-Qaeda - Ibrahim al-Asiri. But it was he who invented a new kind of bomb on death row, kotoRui not see thermal scanners. For many years he tried unsuccessfully to organize the undermining at least some of the passenger liner, what he himself had admitted. However, none of the attempts of the "ad-hoc" terrorists did not succeed: the latest security systems, it is extremely difficult to achieve, he lamented. Suddenly a small group of Bedouin now claims about such a high-profile crimes.
version of the attack on the aircraft really can not be ruled out. However, this does not mean that this group Al-Masri, whose main objective - the fight for control of smuggling flows involved in it. The publication of such a grouping clips puts in a prime location "foremost" among the other terrorists. However provocative refusal to disclose the details of the crime, as well as confusion in the circumstances of the case (the plane 'shot down "or" destroyed "?) Leaves serious doubts about the authorship of al-Masri and his accomplices.