An Egyptian court on Tuesday upheld the death sentences of 13 Islamic militants for attacks against security forces. It is to be noted that all the 13 militants had appealed to the Court of Cassation after a Cairo criminal court handed them the death penalty in 2017.
The 13 were members of Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, had claimed responsibility for lethal attacks on security forces in and around the capital Cairo. Ajnad Misr militant group in January 2014.
During the hearing, the Cassation Court rejected an appeal against initial rulings passed by a Giza criminal tribunal in December 2017. All the accused were found guilty of "making and possessing explosive materials, bombs and firearms, and of receiving training outside the country".
They were also convicted of terrorist acts against police forces and public facilities from late 2013 to May 2015. Apart from the 13 death sentences, 17 other defendants were handed life prison terms and nine to between five and 15 years in jail. However, five defendants were acquitted.
Talking about Ajnad Misr, the Islamic militant group had claimed several deadly attacks against security forces and bombings outside key buildings such as the Supreme Court and the cabinet offices. The group's leader Hammam Mohamed Attiyah was killed by security forces in 2015 in Cairo and many of its remaining members are held in custody.
Security forces had said that Attiyah belonged to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State group, before he broke away in 2013 to found Ajnad Misr.
Egypt has been battling an insurgency affiliated with IS in the restive North Sinai region since former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in 2013.
The government in February 2018 launched a large-scale military operation against IS in the Sinai Peninsula of eastern Egypt. Around 600 suspected militants and 40 soldiers have been killed so far, according to official figures.