An Egyptian court sentenced 12 members of the Islamic State group to death Thursday for plotting attacks against police officers and soldiers in the country, Agence France-Presse reported.
Six of those who were sentenced are currently being held in police custody, while the others are still at large. They were convicted of joining a local ISIS affiliate -- which has stepped up its presence in recent months in the country, especially in the troubled Sinai Peninsula -- and plotting attacks against Egyptian security forces.
In Egypt, death sentences are sent to the country’s grand mufti, the designated interpreter of Islamic law, who then issues a non-binding legal opinion on the ruling.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has launched a massive crackdown on extremists, particularly ISIS militants in the Sinai region. He is also responsible for the widely condemned clampdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, declaring it a terrorist organization and sentencing hundreds of its members, including the democratically elected former leader Mohammed Morsi -- a move that the U.S. called “deeply troubling.”
ISIS affiliates in Egypt have launched several deadly attacks across the country, including a car bombing in the capital Cairo in July outside the Italian consulate that killed one. Last October, the group conducted a series of attacks that left 30 dead, and another in January that killed 40.
A blast in June that killed the country’s chief prosecutor also has been linked to the militant group.
Reports indicate that the group effectively took control of the northern Sinai city of Sheikh Zuweid in July.