Egypt refers 48 suspects to military trial over Islamic State church attacks

Cairo: Egyptian authorities on Sunday referred 48 suspected members of the Islamic State group to a military trial for their alleged involvement in three suicide bombings at Christian churches that killed at least 74 people.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Of the 48 suspects, 31 are in custody and the rest still at large, the general prosecutor's office said in a statement. The attacks on a church in Cairo and two north of the  Egyptian capital between December and April killed at least 74 people. A large number of people were wounded in the bombings.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the three attacks.

The first attack on 11 December on Saint Peter and Saint Paul church in Cairo killed 29 people.

The twin bombings that followed on Palm Sunday on 9 April killed 45 people in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria. The suspects have been accused of being leaders of the Islamic State terrorist group.

They had also formed two terrorist cells in Cairo and the Upper Egyptian governorate Qena, public prosecutor Nabil Sadek said in the statement.

Christians, who have often been targeted by Islamist militants in Egypt, constitute around 10 percent of its population of 900 million.

Egypt has seen a wave of deadly attacks by militants since 2013 when the military overthrew president Mohammed Morsi, an elected leader who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Updated Date: May 21, 2017 21:02 PM

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