A military court in Egypt rejected Tuesday the appeals in the bombing of three churches. It upheld the death sentences of 20 convicts, life sentence of 17, 15-year imprisonment for one and 10-year for another.
They were convicted of killing up to 80 persons in three terrorist bombings. The first targeted a church linked to the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo in Dec. 2016, and was followed by two consecutive blasts in churches in Tanta and Alexandria in April 2017.
The charges include establishing two ISIS cells in Cairo and Qena. The indictment also included attacking security forces in the Negev, killing police officers, possessing and manufacturing ammunition and firearms, ISIS membership and receiving military training at ISIS camps in Libya and Syria.
The Alexandria military court issued in Oct. 2018 verdicts giving 17 defendants death sentences and 19 life sentences, nine received 15-year jail terms and one a 10-year rigorous imprisonment sentence.
ISIS increased its presence in Egypt five years ago after pledging allegiance to the extremist Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, which carried out terrorist operations mainly in north Sinai before launching other attacks in Cairo and the rest of Egyptian provinces.
Mahmoud Shafiq Mohammed Mustafa was identified as the suicide bomber who targeted Cairo’s historic Coptic St. Peter church. On Dec.8, Amr Saad Abbas and Walid Abu al-Majd Abdullah came to him with explosive vests. They resided with him, then on Dec 9-10 they monitored the church and the next day he blew himself up, killing 29 people and wounding 45 others.
Moreover, the Cairo Criminal Court decided to release Hamada el-Sayed, a player at Aswan club in the case known in the media as Wilayat Sina’ (Sinai Province).