Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Zack Gold writes for Combating Terrorism Center Sentinel on Wilayat Sinai, the Sinai affiliate of ISIS that claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian aircraft over Egypt’s Sinai:

The October 31 crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 in Egypt has focused global attention on the threat posed by the Islamic State’s branch in the Sinai Peninsula, which claimed responsibility. Wilayat Sinai emerged only recently, formally pledging bay`a(allegiance) to the Islamic State on November 10, 2014. Islamist militancy based in the Sinai Peninsula, however, has a long history.

In 2004, Tawhid wal Jihad, a predecessor group to Wilayat Sinai, targeted tourists with bombings in the South Sinai resort towns of Taba and Nuweiba. One of the motivations appears to have been pay back for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. President Hosni Mubarak’s regime clamped down harshly on the militancy in the Sinai, where tourism is a major economic driver. But the perceived impunity and abuses by the Interior Ministry during that campaign were part of the recipe that resulted in the 2011 uprising. In the aftermath there has been a post-revolutionary consolidation in the Sinai by a new generation of Islamist militants, who are again turning their sights on tourists and other international interests.

Read the full article here.

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