Egypt sentences 36 to death for Coptic church bombings

Egypt sentences 36 to death for Coptic church bombings
2 min read
11 April, 2018
A string of bomb attacks on Coptic churches in Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta between 2016 and 2017 killed more than 80 people.
The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group. [Getty]

An Egyptian military court on Tuesday sentenced 36 people to death for their role in several deadly church bombings targeting the country's Coptic Christian minority.

A string of bomb attacks on Coptic churches in Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta between 2016 and 2017 killed more than 80 people.

The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.

According to defence lawyers, a total of 48 people appeared before the military court accused of playing a role in the attacks.

Egypt requires that courts refer cases to the Grand Mufti for consideration of the death penalty ahead of a final verdict, although his decision is non-binding.

The court is expected to issue a verdict on 15 May and 11 of the 36 are being tried in absentia, a lawyer involved in the case told Reuters.

Egyptian public prosecutor Nabil Sadek said previously that some of the suspect's held leadership positions in the Islamic State and formed cells in Cairo and the southern province of Qena to carry out the attacks on churches.

Egypt's Coptic minority makes up around 10 percent of its 96-million-strong population, and they have been targeted on numerous occasions by IS.

A long-running insurgency by the Islamic State gained strength after a military coup overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, when Egypt's security situation deteriorated further.

IS militants have focused their attacks on security forces and Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.