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After a long wait, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis – a group active in northern Sinai – has moved from the stage of sympathizing with ISIS to being a part of the international organization.These remarks coincide with an escalation in the year-and-a-half campaign waged by the Egyptian state to confront militants in northern Sinai, particularly following the Oct. 24 attack on the Karm al-Qawadis checkpoint in Sheikh Zuweid, during which 28 Egyptian soldiers were killed in the bloodiest attack since the ouster of President Mohammad Morsi in July 2013 .A growing number Islamist youths, in light of the military's crackdown on religious parties, are welcoming Ansar Beit al-Maqdis' pledge of allegiance to ISIS.Rising support for ISIS in Sinai and elsewhere represents the small but growing conviction that the state's violence can only be met with counter-violence.More than 47,000 people languish in Egyptian prisons, according to a member of the Egyptian Coordination of Rights and Freedoms, who said that 3,000 people were arrested just in the one week before the "Muslim Youth Uprising".If the political landscape continues to retract and the Sisi regime refuses to release detained youth, including Islamists, more trouble will follow, because Egyptian prisons are notorious as breeding grounds for extremism.
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