October 8, 2017 / 1:52 PM / in 13 days

Egypt court recommends death penalty for 13 members of disbanded militant group

CAIRO (Reuters) - Thirteen members of disbanded militant group Ajnad Misr were sentenced to death on Sunday by a Cairo criminal court after being convicted of launching attacks on security forces, judicial sources said.

Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, were a group that emerged in January 2014 and targeted security forces in and around the Egyptian capital.

The group’s leader was killed by security forces in 2015, and many of its remaining members are held in custody.

The court referred its sentencing recommendation to the country’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding but legally required opinion.

Once that is received, the court will then formally announce its verdict on Dec. 7, after which time the sentence can be carried out.

Egypt is fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai that gained momentum in mid-2013 when the military ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule. Hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed.

The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement but Egyptian security forces do not differentiate between it and groups such as Ajnad Misr and Islamic State, which has led the insurgency in recent years.

Reporting by Haitham Ahmed; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Alison Williams

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