Egypt army kills 5, arrests 12 in Sinai, sentences 11 to death

Four of those killed were plotting a “terrorist operation” against security forces.

By
June 9, 2015 17:22
2 minute read.
Cairo

Egyptian military helicopters fly over a republican guard around the congress hall during the Arab Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo, March 28. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The Egyptian Army killed five suspected terrorists early Tuesday in Sinai, a military source said. The source told the Aswat Masriya website that four of those killed were plotting a terrorist operation against security forces.

The fifth suspect was shot while attempting to plant an explosive device near the north Sinai city of al-Arish, said the source, adding that another 12 suspects were arrested as part of ongoing Sinai operations.

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Meanwhile, a Cairo court sentenced 11 men to death on Tuesday for their part in Egypt’s worst violence at a soccer stadium, in which more than 70 fans were killed in 2012.

Many of the dead were crushed when panicked fans tried to escape from the Port Said stadium after a postmatch pitch invasion by supporters of the local side al-Masry.

Others fell or were thrown from terraces, witnesses said at the time. More than 1,000 were injured.

The court, whose session was televised live, sentenced one of the men to death in absentia.

Ten men got 15 years in jail, 14 were sentenced to 10 years, and 15 men received a five-year sentence. The charges included murder and attempted murder.

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Twenty-one people were found innocent. The verdicts can be appealed. Among those who received a five-year sentence was the former Port Said police chief.

The judge had referred the death sentence in April to Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, the country’s most senior religious authority, in a step required by law for convictions in capital cases.

Judge Muhammad al-Saeed told Reuters that the Mufti approved of the 11 defendants’ death sentences.

Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a lawyer for the family of one of the victims, hailed the ruling as “extremely fair and satisfactory.”

Soccer matches are often a flashpoint for violence in Egypt. The teams in the Port Said incident – al-Masry and Cairo’s al-Ahli – are longtime rivals. Witnesses said the rioting broke out after Cairo fans unfurled banners insulting the local team, which had won the match 3-1.

Separately, Egypt’s housing minister on Tuesday acknowledged “complications” in contract negotiations with the investment fund expected to lead development of a new administrative capital east of Cairo.

Mustafa Madbouly declined to speak in detail about the talks, which began after Capital City Partners (CCP) signed an initial agreement for the mega-project at a March economic summit in Egypt.

“There are very many complications.

We are still in the negotiations stage for this project,” Madbouly said on the sidelines of a business conference in Cairo, adding the negotiations were “very sensitive”.

When asked about reports that UAE businessman Muhammad Alabbar, the founding partner of CCP, did not want the government to have a 24 percent share in the project, Madbouly told Al Arabiya television: “The memorandum of understanding includes this issue. This is what was signed, and we cannot change anything in it. All the talk is just speculation, but until now we are still in the negotiation stage.”

CCP was not immediately available for comment.

The new capital is one of a series of mega-projects announced by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to attract foreign investment and create jobs in a country with a booming population of 90 million.

The proposed city, which Egypt plans to build within five to seven years at a cost of $45 billion, has been criticized by some Egyptians and outside observers as unnecessary and ill-conceived.

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