Egypt prosecutors seek death penalty for 13 suspected militants

Egypt prosecutors seek death penalty for 13 suspected militants
Thirteen suspected militants from the Ajnad Misr group who are accused of attacks on security forces and civilians, Egyptian courts to give
2 min read
09 October, 2017
Egyptian forces have been battling a militant insurgency in the Sinai region [AFP]

Egyptian prosecutors are seeking death sentences for 13 members of an Islamist group that have been accused of carrying out numerous attacks on security forces in and around Cairo, justice officials said on Sunday.

The defendants are suspected of links to Ajnad Misr ("Soldiers of Egypt"), a militant group that has claimed responsibility for attacks on security forces in the capital and Giza province since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The prosecution has accused the 13 of killing soldiers, police and civilians and detonating explosives in more than 20 locations.

The sentences are subject to review by the country's mufti, the official interpreter of Islamic law, although his verdict is not binding.

Following his review, the court is due to pass sentence on 7 December.

Egypt has been battling an insurgency by an Islamic State [IS] group affiliate based in North Sinai since Morsi's ouster.

In July, Egypt's military said it killed more than 40 militants in a wide-ranging campaign in the Sinai Peninsula.

Days earlier, the military said at least 30 "extremely dangerous" militants were killed in the operations involving the army, air force and police.

The military did not specify to which group the militants belonged.

Ajnad Misr has focused on the capital, claiming several deadly attacks against security forces and planting bombs outside key buildings such as a presidential palace and Cairo University.

In 2015, the group's leader Hammam Mohammed Attiyah was shot dead in a gunfight in the city.

Police say Attiyah previously belonged to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State group, but broke away in 2013 to found Ajnad Misr.

Militants say their attacks are in retaliation for a government crackdown on Morsi supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.

Militants in the Sinai region have maintained a steady war of attrition with sniper attacks and roadside bombings.

But unlike their parent organisation in Iraq and Syria, they have been unable to seize population centres in the peninsula bordering Israel and Gaza.

Agencies contributed to this report.