Egypt court issues ten life sentences for thwarted Luxor temple attack

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Thursday 17 Dec 2015

Luxor Temple
Egyptian security officials stand guard as tourists visit the ruins of the Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt, Wednesday, June 10, 2015 (Photo: AP)

An Egyptian military court handed lengthy prison sentences late on Wednesday to all defendants charged for an attempted attack on an ancient temple in June, defence lawyer Radwan Touny has said.

Ten of the accused were sentenced to life in prison, while two were handed 10-year jail terms over charges that include "joining a terrorist organisation, possession of arms, and using force and violence,” Touny and a judicial source told Ahram Online.

The sentence can be appealed through a military court.

Investigations concluded that the assailants had been recruited by the ISIS group's Egyptian affiliate—Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis—as part of a terrorist cell targeting “public and tourist property, while aiming to terrorise citizens, and undermine the country's security and stability," prosecutors said.

A total of twelve people were tried and convicted in the case.

The 10 June attack was carried out when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the ancient Karnak Temple in the southern city of Luxor, one of Egypt's most popular ancient attractions.

Another militant was shot in the head and killed by security forces while a third was injured.

The attack left one of the temple staff and five policemen injured.

Militants have carried out dozens of attacks in Egypt since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and an ensuing crack down on his supporters.

The Islamist militants, who are based in parts of North Sinai, have killed hundreds of security personnel since Morsi’s ouster. Authorities have also reported that hundreds of militants have been killed in army campaigns in the governorate.

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