The unprecedented leak of “Islamic State” data announced last week revealed a remarkable presence of Egyptians in the ranks of the extremist Islamist militant group, including a staggering figure that proposes 10% of the group’s foreign suicide bombers could be Egyptian.
The pro-opposition Syrian news website Zaman Al-Wasl revealed in January that they “exclusively obtained 2,000 documents, which include the real names of ISIS fighters and their Jihadi backgrounds, nationalities and hometown addresses.”
Last week, both Zaman Al-Wasl and the UK’s Sky News published details of the documents, with the Syrian newspaper having analysed 1,736 documents, while the British network claimed they obtained tens of thousands of documents.
The leaked documents are the records of the IS General Administration of Borders and are comprised of forms filed out by potential recruits who enter the militant group’s claimed territories.
According to Zaman Al-Wasl, the documents they analysed counted 40 nationalities among IS ranks, with Egyptians ranking fourth, after Saudis, Tunisians, and Moroccans.
While access to all of the leaked data was unavailable, the Syrian newspaper made access public to the files of 122 recruits who registered by requesting to become suicide operatives.
Twelve of the 122 are Egyptian, whose data also reveals a number of significant patterns.
Five of the dozen Egyptian suicide bombers came from North Sinai’s Rafah. The city is one of three cities that are targeted almost daily with attacks by Egypt’s IS-affiliate “Sinai Province”. The rest of the group came from different governorates in the Delta and Suez Canal. None of them are from Upper Egypt.
Five of the Egyptians are younger than 30, while seven of them are married and have children.
The recruiting forms include slots to identify the person who recommended the recruit. Three individuals, Abu Mujahid Al-Sinawi, Abu Mossaab Al-Sinawi, and Abu Talha Al-Masry, are the most common for recommending Egyptian recruits. Abu Mossaab’s form is among the leaked documents and it reveals that he is a 25-year-old trader from Rafah who travelled to Palestine for a month and a half and was recommended by Abu Mujahid.
The Syrian city of Harem, more specifically a village named Atmah, on the Turkish borders, is the most favourable destination for potential Egyptian suicide bombers to enter the territories under control of IS. Five of the Egyptian forms reveal they took that route, while the rest entered through the Turkish border via the cities of Aazaz and Al-Rehaniya or through the coastal city of Latakia.