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Egypt Holds Hearing in Trial of 213 ‘Wilayat Sinai’ Terrorists

Egypt Holds Hearing in Trial of 213 ‘Wilayat Sinai’ Terrorists

Saturday, 19 January, 2019 - 08:15
Egyptian security forces. AFP file photo
Cairo - Asharq Al-Awsat
An Egyptian court is set to hold a hearing on Saturday in the trial of 213 members of the ISIS-affiliated group “Wilayat Sinai” accused of committing 54 terrorist crimes.

The defendants face charges of murdering police officers, soldiers and civilians and of involvement in the assassination attempt of former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim, in addition to bombing several security facilities and carrying out a number of terrorist attacks.

The group pledged allegiance to ISIS in November 2014, then renamed itself ISIS-Wilayat Sinai.

The defendants are also accused of joining a terrorist group aimed at disrupting the country's national security and public order, collaborating with a foreign organization to sabotage state institutions, and of illegal possession of arms and ammunition.

Investigations showed that ousted president Mohamed Morsi was in contact with the group’s leaders.

According to investigators, Morsi had sent terrorists Mohammed al-Zawahiri and Ahmed Ashoush to the northern Sinai province where they met members of the terrorist group to convince them into stopping their attacks in exchange for a presidential pardon.

On February 9, 2018, the Egyptian military launched a major anti-terrorist operation named “Sinai 2018” in the Sinai, Nile Delta and Western Desert regions aimed at eradicating terrorist and criminal cells as well as reinforcing state control at the country’s borders.

The Sinai Peninsula has been the main center of frequent attacks by ISIS-affiliated militants since 2013.

The “Wilayat Sinai” case, which involves 555 suspected terrorists, is linked to attacks carried out by the organization in North Sinai.

Last week, the Court of Cassation, the highest judicial body in Egypt, upheld a court ruling that puts the former head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Building and Development Party, fugitive Tarek al-Zumar, and 318 other defendants of the Sinai insurgency case, on the list of terrorist entities.

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