An Egyptian court has designated militant group Ansar Beit El-Maqdis (ABM) a terrorist group, as well as its founder and 207 other members terrorists, the state television website reported on Saturday.
According to the investigations in the trial against 213 alleged members of the Sinai-based ABM group, the ruling came upon the request of the prosecutor general.
Prosecutors have 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 for Hamas — the de facto leaders of Gaza — murder, attempted murder and illegal weapons possession.
Investigations have shown that members of ABM have had training by Al-Qaeda in different countries and came back to form camps and plan attacks in Egypt.
In March, the same court lifted a media gag order on the trial.
The defendants are charged with 54 separate crimes, including killing police and the attempted assassination of former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
ABM is the most active militant group in Egypt and has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attacks.
In 2014, ABM swore allegiance to the Islamic State group, changing their name to Welayat Sinaa (State of Sinai).
In late March, several leaders of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood — including supreme guide Mohamed Badei and his deputy Khairat El-Shater — were also added to the terrorism list, which was the first implementation of the Terrorist Entities Law issued on 24 February.
The Law has expanded on articles in Egypt's penal code that deal with terrorism.
In April 2014, Cairo court for urgent matters compelled the government to designate ABM as a terrorist group.