image Photo: Reuters

Egypt to execute 21 ISIS-linked terrorists

Egypt’s highest civilian court upheld death sentences for convicted members of the Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis group.

By Erin Viner

The defendants were convicted of carrying out dozens of deadly militant operations, including against state security facilities and officials, according to a judicial source and the state Middle East News Agency (MENA) cited by Reuters.

Yesterday’s decision by the court marks a final ruling.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis was formerly known as the “Sinai Province,” but changed its name after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.

In additional verdicts, the Egyptian justices confirmed life terms of another 43 convicts, while upholding 10-year sentences for 23 others and 5-year terms for a further 53 prisoners.

At least 83 people have been executed in the Arab Republic so far this year, said the Amnesty International human rights organization earlier this month, many in what it described as unfair trials.

Israel is known to have helped its southern neighbor Egypt to battle Islamic insurgents in the Sinai. In 2019 and 2018, the IDF reportedly launched airstrikes on weapons convoys from the restive peninsula en route  to the Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups in the Gaza Strip. Shipments to the Hamas-controlled enclave are believed to have included Iranian missiles meant for use against Israel’s civilian population.

Israel shares a 51 kilometer (almost 32 mile) border with Gaza, and 240 kilometer frontier (about 150 miles) with the Sinai.

Jerusalem and Cairo have been jointly-combating the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2013, after the ousting of  Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood to which Hamas is affiliated.

Sisi in the past described the Arab Republic’s military cooperation with Israel against Islamic State-affiliated militias in the Sinai as having reached “unprecedented levels.”