This is interesting because unlike a lot of the conspiracy theories floating around the region, this seems plausible and grounded in reality.
It was an event easily overlooked during the pandemonium that engulfed Egypt in the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak and his regime.
Shortly after 2am on January 30, 2011, Mohammed Morsi and 31 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood escaped from a maximum-security prison complex 120 kilometres north of the capital, Cairo.
Besides senior Brotherhood officials, some 40 members of two other prominent regional Islamist groups – Hamas and Lebanon’s Hizbollah – also escaped.
Once considered a footnote to the cataclysmic events that were then sweeping Egypt, the prison break and its hints of regional Islamist involvement are now set to take centre stage in legal efforts by Egyptian authorities to prevent the jailed Mr Morsi and other senior members of his Islamist-led government from returning to political life. If convicted on charges of espionage, Mr Morsi and his top aides could be sentenced to death.
Hisham Barakat, the public prosecutor in the case, alleged that Mr Morsi secretly colluded with Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, in planning an assault on the prison in 2011.
According to the testimony by Omar Suleiman, the powerful former director of Egypt’s national intelligence directorate, the Wadi Natroun prison break may have been part of a well-planned operation to liberate jails across the country, carried out by Egyptian Bedouins with the help of Islamists in Egypt and abroad.
Testifying on September 14, 2011, in the trial of Mubarak on charges of complicity in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising, Suleiman said Egypt’s spy agencies started monitoring communications between members of Hamas and Bedouins in Sinai on January 26, 2011 – one day after mass protests broke out.
“Hamas communicated with the Bedouins and agreed that they would provide them with ordnance in exchange for assistance in freeing their comrades from Egyptian prisons,” said Suleiman, according to a transcript of his court testimony.
The Al Qassam Brigades, the militant wing of Hamas, “created a diversion so that the border guards would not pursue the smuggled ordnance. Thus the weapons, ammunition and explosives were successfully smuggled and given to the Bedouins,” he said.
With up to 90 Gaza-based members of Hizbollah, Hamas militants then entered Egypt illegally and led the assaults on prisons across the country, said Suleiman, who died in July last year.
This would explain the links between Hamas and the outbreak of Sinai violence and Morsi’s own attempt at crushing the military, while at the same time the military was keeping a tight lid on Hamas smuggling tunnels.
The Egyptian military knew or suspected that Hamas had linked up with Sinai Jihadists to carry out attacks in Egypt for the Brotherhood’s gain.