File Photo: An Egyptian Military Courts Complex (Ahram)
A military court sentenced on Tuesday 168 defendants to life in prison (25 years per Egyptian penal code) for forming 43 cells affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and planning a number of terror attacks across the country.
The terrorist cells, which were affiliated with the Daesh branch in North Sinai known in the media as 'Sinai Province', were charged with carrying out 63 terrorist crimes in North Sinai.
The court acquitted 35 defendants in the case, which included 555 people.
The court sentenced 36 defendants to 15 years in prison, 136 to 10 years, 50 to seven years, 42 to five years, and 89 to three years.
According to investigations by the prosecution and the interior ministry, the crimes committed by the terror cells were concentrated in North Sinai.
The leaders and members of the cells were continuously communicating with IS leaders in Iraq and Syria, according to the prosecution.
Some of the defendants in the case also joined IS camps in Syria to be trained on using weapons and creating explosives, the prosecution said.
The defendants joined the camps to gain experience in guerrilla warfare and street fighting in order to translate this experience into hostile acts against the state's institutions and citizens, the prosecution said.
Police investigations reveal that the defendants staked out various institutions as well as public figures with the aim of committing terrorist acts against them.
These institutions included the interior ministry headquarters, the Police Academy in New Cairo, ships crossing the Suez Canal, and the Damietta port on the Mediterranean. They also included a church in Ezbat Al-Nakhl district in Cairo, Anba Shenouda Church in Hurghada, and Paul the Apostle Church in Qalyoubia's Obour city.