Egypt’s top prosecutor imposed Saturday a media gag order on the case against suspected 213 members of the Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis militant group, a statement from the prosecutor said, abiding by a court ruling a day earlier.
The first session of the trial is due to start 5 March, in which defendants face charges of killing a number of policemen, a failed assassination attempt against the interior minister, as well as bombing a number of security installations, including police headquarters in Cairo, the Nile Delta city of Daqahliya and South Sinai.
The gag order extends until the trial opens, with permission to cover the first session given to authorised media outlets, the state news agency MENA said.
Prosecutors previously charged the defendants with forming, leading and joining a terrorist group, assaulting citizens’ rights and freedoms, harming national peace and unity, sabotage of state property, espionage with Hamas, the de facto leaders of Gaza, murder, attempted murder and illegal weapons possession.
Investigations have revealed that 54 attacks, in which the defendants are allegedly involved, killed 42 policemen, 15 civilians and injured some 349 others, MENA said.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM), the most active militant group in Egypt, has claimed responsibility for most of the major attacks against security forces and their installations, with the deadliest assaults taking place in the restive Sinai Peninsula.
ABM swore allegiance in 2014 to the regional Islamic State (IS) militant group, which has a presence in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and has changed the name of the Egyptian IS-affiliate to the Sinai Province.