Al-Masri is a former professor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
In October 2001, right after 9/11, the New York Times called Al-Azhar “the revered mosque, the distinguished university, the leading voice of the Sunni Muslim establishment.” It quoted a Muslim cleric: “Al Azhar is the only institution in the world that has learned the moderate Islam and taught it in a moderate way without fanaticism, and without abiding by the teachings of a school that promotes rigidity or violence.”
In June 2009 at al-Azhar, Barack Obama said: “For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement.”
“Cleric suspected in Russian plane crash,” by J.J. Green, WTOP, November 11, 2015:
WASHINGTON — A full 10 days after the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 in Egypt’s Sinai, which killed 224 people, Egyptian and Russian investigators may be ready to admit it was blown out of the sky by an ambitious terrorist.
In a tweet Monday night Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev delivered the first substantive hint that Russian investigators believe a bomb might have brought down the Russian-bound plane.
“The Russian plane crash in Egypt may have been the result of a terrorist attack, so all flights to Egypt has (sic) been suspended since Friday,” said Medvedev in his tweet.
This came days after President Barack Obama said in a radio interview, “I think there’s a possibility that there was a bomb on board.”…
Abu Usama al-Masri, a shadowy, Egyptian cleric and leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, branch in the Sinai Peninsula, known as Wilayat Sinai or Sinai Province, is believed to the mastermind.
He claimed responsibility in an audio message on Nov. 1, 2015.
“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,” he said in the message.
The crash took place on the one-year anniversary of the date that his terrorist group, formerly known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, pledged allegiance to ISIL.
Since that time, U.S. and Middle Eastern intelligence sources believe al-Masri, a former professor at Al-Azhat [sic] University in Cairo, had been seeking an opportunity to impress ISIL’s leadership.
A former agent with Israel’s Shin Beit security force believes al-Masri is perhaps the most influential terrorist in the region; and if the theory of a bomb on the plane holds together, he’s the person that most likely orchestrated it.
“He’s the one who leads this group right now in Sinai and he’s the one who took the responsibility,” said Offer Baruch….