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Egypt Court Sentences 2 to Death Over Church Attack

Egypt Court Sentences 2 to Death Over Church Attack

Monday, 13 May, 2019 - 07:30
Policemen inspect the site of attack on Mar Mina church in Helwan district on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, December 29, 2017. (File photo: Reuters)
Cairo - Mohammed Abdo Hasanein
An Egyptian criminal court sentenced two men to death and eight others to prison over an attack on a church and shop in Helwan, on the southern outskirts of Cairo, which left 10 people dead.

The attack occurred in December 2017, when a gunman opened fire at two Christians in a shop, killing them, and then fired on the entrance of the nearby Mar Mina Church, killing seven Christian worshipers and a Muslim policeman.

ISIS terrorist organization later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Authorities sentenced the main suspect, who is in custody, and another suspect, who is on the run, to death. Two defendants were handed life sentences, four were given four years in prison and two were handed three years in jail.

The court also acquitted one suspect while two others are still at large.

The main suspect appeared in court wearing red death row prison clothes, having also been handed two military death sentences after being convicted of attacking military buildings.

After the verdict was announced, the main suspect was seen smiling, and embraced the other defendants in court.

The verdict is final under Egyptian law, however, the defendants can appeal to have the sentence reduced by the security court.

Egyptian Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek had refered 11 suspects in the incident, known as “Helwan Church events,” to the criminal court.

The defendants were accused of forming, leading, and joining a Takfiri group and funding the group’s members. The charges include the murder of 10 people, attempted murder and resisting police forces.

The Prosecutor also charged them with manufacturing and possessing an explosive, joining and contacting ISIS with the aim of plotting terror attacks in Egypt, possession of firearms and ammunition to be used in terror crimes, as well as using social media and Internet to exchange messages and receive operation orders.

In other news, Egypt’s Interior Minister Major General Mahmoud Tawfiq honored a number of police officers of South Sinai and Suez's various security units for their fast response to the infiltration attempt of armed terrorist elements in Oyoun Mousa area, of Ras Sedr south of Sinai.

The Minister also rewarded 558 policemen and security personnel of various departments for their “role in maintaining the security” during the past month.

For several years, the Sinai Peninsula has witnessed violent clashes between Egyptian forces and ISIS fighters, during which hundreds of people have been killed. However, the frequency of the attacks have declined significantly.

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