Suspects in Luxor temple attack face military trial

Ahram Online , Thursday 27 Aug 2015

The attack in June claimed no lives but wounded several people

Egypt has referred to military trial suspects accused of involvement in a cell that carried out an attack at a Luxor tourist site in June, prosecutors said on Thursday.

The attack at the Karnak temple in the ancient city of Luxor was foiled by a taxi driver and security forces. It caused no deaths but left several wounded.

A statement from the public prosecution's office said the suspects involved in the  attack had been recruited by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, Egypt's most lethal militant group which last November pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group.

It did not specify the number of the defendants, and judicial sources refused to comment on the matter.

The prosecution said two foreigners, along with an Egyptian national, were behind the assault.

One of the assailants blew himself up as they were stopped by police and another was shot dead by the forces before they could attack tourists at the site.

A third gunman, an Egyptian, was mistakenly wounded by a shot from one of the militants and was then arrested, the prosecution added.

Military courts in Egypt tend to process cases faster than civilian ones.

The attack was the first in the ancient city since November 1997 when Islamist militants shot their way into the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor's Valley of the Queens, killing 62 people.

Egypt has been battling a brazen Islamist insurgency in the border region of North Sinai for a decade and on the mainland since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The violence had previously spared tourist sites, mostly targeting security checkpoints and government infrastructure with bombings and shootings.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which changed its name to Sinai Province since it swore allegiance to IS, has spearheaded attacks that mostly target police and army officers.

However, in 2014, it claimed a suicide bombing that killed three South Koreans and their Egyptian driver in a tourist bus in a resort town of South Sinai, close to the Israeli border.

 

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