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Originally published in the Sunday Express
ISLAMIC State militants suspected of blowing up a Russian passenger plane have a network of insurgents working in bars, restaurants and hotels across Sharm El Sheikh.
The terror group also uses operatives employed at the airport, authorities in the Egyptian Red Sea resort fear.
It looks increasingly likely that a bomb hidden in the luggage hold downed the Metrojet Airbus A321- 200, that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Province last Saturday killing all 224 on board.
The Sinai branch of Islamic State, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, is known to have stockpiled explosives from Somalia and Sudan during the years they were smuggling weapons to Gaza rebels Hamas.
Tom Wilson, a research fellow with the Henry Jackson Society thinktank, said the Sinai branch of the Islamic State did have rockets capable of reaching heights of about 10-15,000 metres.
He said: “When the Muslim Brotherhood was in government a few years ago, they turned a blind eye to all the weapons and explosives smuggled from places like Somalia and Sudan into Egypt and through tunnels to Hamas in Gaza.
“It became like a Wild West situation and the IS group in the Sinai is largely made up of a particular Bedouin tribe who are expert smugglers. “They have managed large-scale explosive attacks against the Egyptian military and killed large numbers of Egyptian soldiers as well as attempted attacks on oil rigs and the gas pipeline which goes through the Sinai.”