File Photo: Egyptian Army soldiers patrol in an armored vehicle backed by a helicopter gunship during a sweep through villages in Sheikh Zuweyid, North Sinai (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s Supreme State Security revealed a number of details in a case against accused members of the Wilayat Sinai (the Province of Sinai) terrorist group on Wednesday, including that some suspects had received training from Daesh in Syria and Iraq in the use of weapons and explosives.
On Monday, Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek referred 555 suspected members of the terrorist organization to military court on charges of forming 43 terrorist cells, carrying out or providing support for 63 terrorist attacks against civilians and security forces, disseminating Daesh propaganda and plotting further attacks around the country.
Wilayat Sinai is the self-proclaimed name of the terrorist group formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which declared allegiance to Daesh in November 2014.
The primary suspect in the case, Ali Salman Ali Salem Al-Derz, is accused of tasking a number of cadres with spreading Daesh's ideology in North Sinai. The group accuses the head of state, members of the army and Christians of being infidels.
The prosecution also accused Tarek El-Zomor, a prominent Egyptian leader of Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya who resides in Turkey, of having a leading role in the Wilayat Sinai terrorist organisation and providing financial assistance to the organisation from abroad.
The terrorist organisation is said to have divided North Sinai into six administrative sectors under a general commander known as Al-Wali who is aided by three primary lieutenants responsible for military, administrative and financial affairs, respectively, the prosecution said.
Suspects in the case are also accused of staking out a number of civilian and political targets with the aim of carrying out attacks.
Among the intended targets were churches in Giza, Hurghada and Cairo's outskirts, as well as the interior ministry headquarters in Cairo and ships in the Suez Canal and Damietta port.
Members of terrorist cells affiliated with the organisation are also accused of abducting and killing a number of civilians in North Sinai in retaliation for thier alleged cooperation with security officials in the area.
Some 88 suspects arrested in the case gave detailed confessions on 63 terrorist attacks carried out in North Sinai, the prosecution said.
Several defendants are accused of providing material and logisitical support for attacks, including plotting to sabotage a gas pipeline between Port Said and Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai.
The prosecution said that according to confessions by 216 of the defendants, a number of suspects were involved in the killing of Central Security Captain Mahmoud El-Zamlout and army Lieutenant Mohamed Abdel-Razek in 2016, as well as the shooting of a total of 10 security personnel and targeting of armored vehicles, checkpoints and security locations with explosives and automatic weapons.