An Egyptian court in the city of Ismailia on Monday sentenced 14 militant Islamists to death by hanging and another six to life in prison over attacks on army and police forces in the Sinai Peninsula during the summer of 2011.
Eight of the 14 death sentences were in absentia, court sources said. Egyptian security is looking for them; some sources think they fled Egypt.
A source added that the sentences were approved by the Grand Mufti of Egypt. However, this is a routine step before proceeding to execution.
The 14 men were accused of belonging to the Tawheed wal Jihad group, which attacked members of the police and armed forces, killing seven people, including six members of the security forces and one civilian in two operations in June and July of 2011, against a police station and a bank in el-Arish.
Footage from inside the court showed bearded defendants wearing the white overalls issued to detainees, standing or sitting in a metal cage. One was brought into court in a wheelchair, Reuters reported.
The defendants blamed President Mohamed Morsi for the court’s decision.
"Morsi is an infidel and those who follow him are infidels," one defendant said.
Some of them said, "Allahu Akbar" and called Allah to take their revenge.
In related news, Egyptian security sources said that a senior member of a Jihadi militant group in the Sinai known as Abu al-Miqdad, from the Egyptian city of Bani Suef, has been detained.
After several attempts to bring him into custody, he was arrested at a charitable organization in Cairo district Nasr City on Sept. 1, security sources said.
Abu al-Miqdad was jailed in Egypt's al-Fayyoum prison between 2007 and 2010, before he was released under a government amnesty program, they added.
Security forces are investigating his involvement in the Aug. 5 attack on a security post on the border with Israel, in which 16 Egyptian border guards were killed.
According to sites close to the Tawheed wal Jihad group, the group has threatened to retaliate against the government of Morsi. Furthermore, they also said that the group knows how to direct their hit at the right time. Morsi has to learn from past events that if the group says something, they do it.
Perhaps these sentences, which the Egyptian people say are hasty and unfair, could open the door again for reprisals at the level of bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh in addition to a number of tourist areas in Egypt. Everyone remembers the shootings and killings of tourists during the years of the 1980s, during the last century.
Unfortunately, instead of trying to reach a solution with these extremists, knowing that the Hosni Mubarak regime succeeded in understanding them, Morsi wants to show his muscles. Certainly, he will not be the victim in any operation—always the victim will be foreign tourists and Egyptian citizens.
The current security situation in Egypt is unable to provide protection for the Egyptians, but how about foreigners? There is much evidence. For those who do not believe the situation, they can review the Egyptian newspapers and social sites in order to hear stories of lack of security.
I mentioned yesterday that there were six victims in a bomb explosion in the train station in the city Talkha. Today, in a new incident, six people, including two rescue workers, were seriously injured when a strong blast ripped through one of the most popular cafes and restaurant in Alexandria city.
Are these spontaneous or fabricated accidents? We pray to God to protect Egypt.