A member of the Egyptian security forces stands guard next to a damaged bus following a roadside bomb blast which wounded 20 Egyptian policemen on the outskirts of the northern Sinai's provincial capital of Al-Arish on July 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ STR
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A terrorist bomb is emerging as the most likely explanation for the Russian plane crash in Egypt Saturday, according to U.S. and U.K. officials.A brutal crackdown by government forces managed to quell the attacks, but the militants lay dormant only temporarily.Coupled with the easy flow of weapons from Libya, which was embroiled in its own revolution, the Sinai became a favored base for radical Islamists from across the region, they wrote.The militants stepped up their attacks, bombing the natural gas pipeline linking Egypt to Israel more than two dozen times from 2011-13, as well as sporadic forays into southern Israel.It was during this period that Ansar Beit al-Maqdis gained notoriety as Egypt's most dangerous militant group. Their "unique strength" was the group's coalition between operatives loyal to Al-Qaeda, militants with more local grievances and radical militants from Gaza who were still predominantly focused on Israel, Awad and Tadros wrote.It took airstrikes from F-16 fighters to beat the militants back – after a fight that lasted at least 10 hours.
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