Egypt plans to follow through with the executions of 12 suspected members of the Islamic State group who were convicted of planning to attack police and soldiers, Agence France-Presse reports. The accused were sentenced to death last month by a court in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya.
Six of those convicted are behind bars; the others remain at large. The dozen were accused of having joined ISIS, which has proclaimed a caliphate across parts of Iraq and Syria, and fuels continuing wars in both countries.
Insurgents associated with ISIS have ramped up attacks in Egypt this summer: in June, the country’s chief prosecutor was killed in a Cairo car bombing; two days later, ISIS-affiliated militants attacked Egyptian military checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 17 soldiers. Sinai has played host to much of the violence provoked by insurgents suspected of links to the Islamic State.
Under President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, Egypt has pursued a vigorous crackdown on Islamist extremists and groups suspected of having ties to ISIS. The Sisi government has sentenced hundreds of Islamists to death since coming to power in a 2013 military coup that toppled the democratically elected government of Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In April, Egyptian authorities sentenced Morsi to death -- a move that drew widespread condemnation, from Amnesty International to the United States.
In July, a group loyal to ISIS attempted to take over the northern Sinai city of Sheikh Zuweid, launching an assault that left up to 50 people dead. Security forces eventually rebuffed the fighters.
Those convicted can appeal a ruling before a separate court that either upholds the verdict or orders a retrial, according to AFP. Morsi has appealed his sentence. Since the government’s crackdown on Islamists began, seven people have been executed.