A military court in Egypt has given death sentences to 17 people for their involvement in three deadly church bombings in 2016 and 2017, which were claimed by the Daesh terrorist group.
Egypt’s state news agency MENA on Thursday quoted judicial officials as saying that another 19 people were handed life sentences and 10 others were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years for their roles in the attacks, which hit churches in Cairo, the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta.
The verdict can be appealed. Egyptian rights lawyer Khaled el-Masry said military prosecutors had accused the defendants of belonging to the Daesh group and plotting attacks against Christian churches and security forces.
Daesh militants claimed responsibility for the Alexandria and Tanta bombings in April 2017 that killed 45 people.
The group also took responsibility for the December 2016 attack on a chapel adjoining St Mark’s, Cairo’s main cathedral, that left 28 dead.
-Egypt church bombers to be tried by military
Egypt refers 48 suspected Daesh members to the military for trial over three deadly church bombings.
Christian places of worship across the Arab country, especially the Coptic churches in Cairo, have been repeatedly targeted in attacks claimed by Daesh, prompting authorities to impose a state of emergency.
Back in August, another bomb attack against a church on the outskirts of Cairo was foiled when a bomber blew himself up before reaching the target.
Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s predominantly Sunni Muslim population of some 100 million.
The Egyptian army is currently waging a major operation focused on the Sinai Peninsula to wipe out Daesh.
By Africafrique and agencies