Abu Osama al-Masri

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Abu Osama al-Masri
أبو أسامة المصري
Born1973 (1973)
DiedJune 2018 (aged 45)
Cause of deathAirstrike
Other namesAbu Osama al-Masri
Alma materAl-Azhar University
OccupationClothes importer
Years active2013-2018
OrganizationIslamic State
Known forEmir of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province

Muhammad Ahmad ’Ali al-Isawi, known as Abu Osama al-Masri (Arabic: أبو أسامة المصري‎)[1] (1973-June 2018) was an Egyptian jihadist and leader of the Islamic State branch in the Sinai Peninsula, known as Wilayat Sinai.[2]


He is believed to have been born in north Sinai and grew up in Sharqiya in the Nile Delta.[3] His kunya means 'father of Osama, the Egyptian'.

Abu Osama was said to be 42 years old as of 2015. He is reported to have been a clothing importer who studied at al-Azhar University, a top Sunni institution in Cairo.[4] Prior to the 2011 Egyptian revolution he is believed to have been imprisoned for some time.[citation needed]

In October 2014, he was believed to have traveled to Syria with about 20 followers when security forces clamped down on militants after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was deposed in the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état.[5]

Abu Osama was a member of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, the previous name of the group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Islamic State in Sinai[edit]

For much of his time in the group he served as head media spokesman.

In May 2015 a recording surfaced where Abu Osama called for attacks against Egyptian judges, saying: "It is wrong for the tyrants [judges] to jail our brothers, Poison their food... surveil them at home and in the street... destroy their homes with explosives if you can."[1]

In the summer of 2015 they released a video showing the beheading of four Bedouin people, whom they accused of passing information to Israeli spies to assist in drone strikes. They have also conducted raids into Israel including an attack on the tourist area of Eilat and a gas pipeline.[4]

In November 2015, he became a person of interest in the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268.[6] He claimed responsibility saying “We are the ones who downed it [Metrojet Flight 9268] by the grace of Allah, and we are not compelled to announce the method that brought it down.”[4]

He became leader of Wilayah Sinai in August 2016.[7] A video titled "The Path of Rationality From Darkness to Light" claimed he was killed in June 2018 during an airstrike.[8] On a propaganda video created by ISIS-Wilaya Sinai on the 15th of November 2018, the group released a voice recording by him whilst confirming his death.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Georgy, Michael; Kalin, Stephen (21 May 2015). "Islamic State's Egypt affiliate urges attacks on judges - recording". Reuters UK. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  2. ^ Spencer, Richard (8 November 2015). "Who are the jihadists who may have brought down the Russian jet?". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  3. ^ Sykes, Selina (9 November 2015). "Is this the man behind Russia plane crash? Shadowy cleric HUNTED over masterminding plot". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Brean, Joseph (11 August 2015). "Abu Osama al-Masri: Portrait of the Egyptian terrorist suspected of downing Russian plane". Leader Post. Postmedia Network Inc. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ Gartenstein-Ross, Daveed (25 February 2015). "ISIL's International Expansion: What Does Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis's Oath of Allegiance Mean?". Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  6. ^ Gadher, Dipesh; Amoore, Miles (8 November 2015). "Plane bombing mastermind unmasked as Egyptian cleric". The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Limited. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  7. ^ "State Department Terrorist Designations of Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi". U.S. Department of State Spokesman. Bureau of Public Affairs. 19 May 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Province of Sinai video claims former police and military personnel among its ranks, confirms death of Islamic State Sinai leader". Mada Masr. 17 November 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2019.