Egypt Sentences 30 Men Over Church Attack Plot

Thirty men were sentenced on Saturday to between 10 years and life in prison for planning a suicide bombing on a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria and other charges, court officials said.

The authorities said at the time of their arrest that the defendants had embraced the ideas of the Islamic State and had received training abroad and in Egypt.

Twenty of the defendants who appeared in court did not react to the sentences, and there was no immediate comment from the lawyers representing them. The other 10 are still on the run and were sentenced in absentia.

The attack on the church did not take place. But minority Christians have faced a series of assaults in Alexandria and other parts of Egypt in recent years.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide bombings on churches in Alexandria and Tanta in April 2017 that killed 45 people.

The defendants were also accused of planning to bomb a liquor store in the Mediterranean city of Damietta, joining an illegal group and possessing weapons and explosives.

Eighteen of them received life terms, which run for 25 years in Egypt; eight got 15 years in prison; and four were sentenced to 10 years, according to the head of the Alexandria Criminal Court, convened in Cairo.

Egypt has cracked down on Islamist groups since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the 2013 military overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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