CAIRO - The Egyptian presidency upheld the death penalty for 14 people convicted of attacking police in North Sinai in 2011, signalling the army-backed authorities' determination to press a campaign against Islamist militants.
The condemned men, all from the Tawheed wal Jihad ("Monotheism and Holy War") group, were sentenced in 2012 to hang for killing three police officers, an army officer and a civilian in attacks on a police station and a bank in the town of el-Arish in 2011.
Deposed president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood did not sign off on the implementation of the sentences during his one year in office, which ended when the army deposed him after mass protests against his rule.
Morsi's overthrow has triggered a wave of attacks on the security forces in North Sinai and further west in the towns of cities of the Nile Valley and Delta. The state has declared that it is in a war on terrorism.