Egypt Sentences 14 Terrorists to Death

August 14, 2012  

A criminal court in Egypt on Tuesday sentenced 14 members of a terrorist group to death, the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

The 14 attacked a police station in the city of Arish in July of last year and killed army and police officers.

The incident occurred on July 29, 2011, when the terrorists attacked the police department in the capital city of North Sinai Governorate. The ensuing crossfire left two police and army officers and three citizens dead. The attack came after a demonstration by a group believed to be Jihadists in which they raised Islamic banners.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the defendants faced charges of founding an illegal group, Al-Tawheed wa al-Jihad, which aims at suspending the provisions of the constitution and the law, hindering the work of state institutions and public authorities, using terrorism as a means of reaching goals, and assaulting police and armed forces personnel to disrupt public order, safety and security.

They were also charged with stealing three automatic rifles, 125 bullets and explosive materials, the report said.

The court had in previous sessions heard the testimonies of the witnesses, including the North Sinai security director, the military intelligence director, and the police officers who conducted the investigation.

It ruled that the papers of convicts be sent to Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, which is routine for death sentences. The mufti’s opinion on the death penalty is consultative. The court set September 24 to read the ruling and continue trying the rest of the defendants.

Egyptian authorities say Al-Tawheed wa al-Jihad was behind the October 7, 2004 bombings in a Taba resort on the Egyptian-Israeli border, in Sharm el-Sheikh on July 23, 2005, and in Dahab on April 24, 2006.

Egypt has launched a crackdown on Sinai terrorism in recent days, in response to a terror attack near the border with Israel last week, in which 16 Egyptian officers were killed.

A report from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has indicated that international terrorist groups with roots in Libya, Sudan and Iraq are working to take over the Sinai Peninsula.

Efforts to turn the region into a major launching point for attacks are being encouraged by Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri, the report stated.

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