Abu Osama al-Masri

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Abu Osama al-Masri
Native name أبو أسامة المصري
Born 1973 (age 44–45)
North Sinai Governorate, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Other names Abu Osama al-Masri
Citizenship Egyptian
Alma mater Al-Azhar University
Occupation Clothes importer
Years active 2013-present
Organization Islamic State
Known for Emir 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] is an Egyptian scholar 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'.

As of 2015, Abu Osama is said to be 42 years old. 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.

In October 2014, he is 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]


  1. ^ a b Michael Georgy; Stephen Kalin (21 May 2015). "Islamic State's Egypt affiliate urges attacks on judges - recording". Reuters UK. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Who are the jihadists who may have brought down the Russian jet?". Telegraph.co.uk. 8 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  3. ^ Sykes, Selina (2015-11-09). "Is this the man behind Russia plane crash? Shadowy cleric HUNTED over masterminding plot". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  4. ^ a b c "Abu Osama al-Masri: Portrait of the Egyptian terrorist suspected of downing Russian plane". www.leaderpost.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/gartenstein-ross-daveed-isils-international-expansion-what-does-ansar-bayt-al-maqdiss-oath-of-alleg/
  6. ^ "Plane bombing mastermind unmasked as Egyptian cleric". The Sunday Times. 8 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  7. ^ "State Department Terrorist Designations of Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2017-11-30.