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Al-Qaeda emerges amid Egypt’s turmoil

Information is emerging that al-Qaeda’s growth in the region is extending into the Sinai Peninsula and across Egypt.
Residents and tourists watch as smoke raises near a state security building after a blast in South Sinai October 7, 2013. Medical sources said three were killed and 48 injured in the blast near the state security building in South Sinai. A witness said it was caused by a car bomb.  REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX142T0

CAIRO — During the last week of August, I spent a few nights in the villages of the northern Sinai Peninsula where Islamist militants have been hiding and operating since the January 25 Revolution. It was a pitch-black night when I drove around with a tribal kingpin; he took back roads, drove slowly, turned off his headlights and clearly knew the consequences of being spotted by a military checkpoint. 

"This is Abu Mounir's mosque; it's run and controlled by Al-Tawhid wal-Jihad," he said as we drove into Muqataa village. I had seen the mosque before and heard stories of its jihadist cleric and operational commander, Sheikh Abu Mounir. "They are not as powerful as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis [Partisans of Jerusalem], Majlis Shura al-Mujahedeen [Mujahedeen Shura Council] or Al-Salafeyya al-Jihadeyya [Salafist Jihadist Group], but they are widely feared as well," he added.

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