File Photo: Egyptian forensics check a destroyed vehicle at the site of a bomb attack in the northern port city of Alexandria, which hit a convoy of the city's security chief, on March 24, 2018. (Photo: AFP)
A Cairo criminal court handed preliminary death sentences on Monday to three defendants over the failed assassination of Alexandria's security director in March 2018 ahead of Egypt's presidential elections.
The court referred the preliminary sentences to the Grand Mufti, which is a necessary, albeit non-binding, procedure before issuing a death sentence, as per the Egyptian penal code.
The court convicted the defendants, 11 in total, of charges including the attempted murder of Alexandria's security director Mostafa El-Nemr and members of his convoy and others in the Mediterranean city, and the murder of two lower ranking policemen in the attack.
The court is set to issue its final ruling on 21 March.
In March 2018, an improvised explosive device placed under a car detonated as El-Nemr’s convoy was passing in El-Moaskar El-Romany Street. El-Nemr was unharmed in the attack; however, the blast killed the two policemen and injured several others.
The attack came days before Egypt held its 2018 presidential elections, which saw Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi win in a landslide victory.
Days later, the Egyptian police said they killed six Hasm terrorist group members believed to be behind the failed assassination attempt on Alexandria's security chief.
The assassination attempt was the first against a security official since late 2016, which witnessed a number of attacks that included a failed assassination attempt on a senior judicial official in September 2016, and the October 2016 assassination of an army brigadier general who had previously served in North Sinai, where the army’s war against terrorism is concentrated.