Court begins overseeing case of attack on Arish Police Department

Ismailia Criminal Court started hearings Monday in the case of an attack on an Arish police station last July. Some 25 defendants are accused in the case.

Gunmen had attacked the police department in the capital city of North Sinai Governorate on 29 July 2011. The ensuing crossfire left two police and army officers and three citizens dead. The attack came after a demonstration by a group believed to be Jihadists in which they raised Islamic banners.

The defendants face charges of founding an illegal group, “Al-Tawheed wa al-Jihad,” which aims at suspending the provisions of the constitution and the law, hindering the work of state institutions and public authorities, harming social peace, using terrorism as a means of reaching goals, and assaulting police and armed forces personnel to disrupt public order and endanger social safety and security.

Egyptian authorities said the group is behind bombings in the Taba resort on 7 October 2004 on the Egyptian-Israeli border, in Sharm el-Sheikh on 23 July 2005, and in Dahab on 24 April 2006.

The defendants are to be returned to custody while the court has decided to adjourn the case to 23 April to hear the witnesses, judicial sources said.

The defendants attended the session Monday under tight security measures at the Ismailia courts compound. Metal and explosives detectors were deployed.

Mohammed Eid Hameed, one of the defendants, is said to have died under torture on 3 February. The defendants chanted Islamic slogans and held copies of the Quran.

The defense demanded to hear testimony from a number of police and army personnel, the head of the military intelligence office in Arish, the head of Sinai security, the former head of the North Sinai investigations department, General Abu Zeid, and the owners of the properties damaged in the incident.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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