Egypt court signals death penalty for seven jihadists in Sinai case

An Egyptian court recommended on Tuesday death sentences for seven men, including a prominent Islamist militant, charged with killing 25 policemen last year in an attack near the border with Israel.
The court referred the case to the Grand Mufti, Egypt's highest Muslim authority, whose opinion is typically sought on capital punishment but whose decision can be disregarded.
The high-profile militant, Adel Habara, was in custody, he said, but he could not immediately say where the others were.
The final ruling is due on 6 Dec, after the Mufti offers his opinion. It can be appealed.
The attack took place in August 2013 following the government's violent clearing of two protest camps in Cairo, where supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsy had gathered to demand his reinstatement.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who as army chief engineered Morsy's overthrow following mass protests against his rule and then launched a crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters, now faces a growing Islamist insurgency in the lawless Sinai Peninsula adjoining Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Thousands of Brotherhood supporters have been rounded up in Sisi's crackdown and hundreds have since been sentenced to death. Liberal activists have also been suppressed by Sisi, with many of the leading lights of the 2011 popular uprising also facing trial for breaking a law that seeks to curb protests.
More than 500 people, mostly police and soldiers, have been killed across Egypt in Islamist militant attacks since last summer, according to government statistics.
Officials have also expressed concern about fighters crossing Egypt's western border from Libya, where militant violence and factional chaos has ticked up noticeably this year.
Sisi's government does not differentiate between radical Islamist groups based mainly in the Sinai and the Brotherhood, which maintains it is a peaceful organisation and denied any connection with recent anti-state violence.

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