File Photo: Egypt's general prosecutor Nabil Sadek (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt's prosecutor-general has referred 30 Daesh-linked “terrorists” to the to the Supreme State Security Emergency Criminal Court on charges of planning to attack Egyptian Christians and churches.
In an official statement, Nabil Sadek's office said the accused were charged with establishing a terrorist group that embraces Daesh's extremist dogma, while being supplied with money, weapons, and explosives to carry out their plans.
The accused are also charged with receiving military training at Daesh camps in Syria and Libya.
They were allegedly planning to target churches and Christians in a number of Egyptian governorates.
According to investigations conducted by the Supreme State Security Prosecution, a leader of Daesh, codenamed "Nour", received a mandate from the leadership of the terrorist organisation to establish a terrorist group in Egypt which targeted the country's ruler, armed and police forces, and Christians.
The leader established a group wtih two cells, trained them, and selected some members to prepare them to execute suicide bombings.
In the second stage of the group’s history, they were detected communicating with each other using secure messaging services like Telegram, Line, etc.
The group members attended military trainings inside the country and abroad to raise their fighting capacity, as well as training them to manufacture and deploy improvised explosive devices and suicide vests in preparation for attacks in Egypt.
According to the statement, some of the defendants were trained in Daesh camps in Syria and Libya.
The 30 defendants were planning to target the Church of Saint Maximus & Domadius in Asafra in Alexandria, and the Church of the Virgin Mary and Saint Bishay in Damietta, as well as three other Christian houses of worship in Giza and Beheira governorates.
The investigations added that the group's members were ordered to carry out a suicide bombing in a Copt-owned undertaker’s, where there would be Christan mourners gathered.
Ammunition, explosive material, and weaponry were also found in the possession of the accused.
It is unclear if the members of the group are affiliated with Daesh-Egypt, who have carried out several attacks in Egypt recently.
Daesh-Egypt most recently claimed an attack by a gunman on a Coptic church in Helwan, south of Cairo, which killed nine people in December 2017.
It was designated by the US as a terrorist group in February.