As many as 292 suspects will be tried in an Egyptian military court over charges that include assassination attempts on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, 2014 bombings in North and South Sinai and plans to kill the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The suspects are alleged members of Sinai State, the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
Suspected Islamist militants twice plotted to assassinate Sisi, according to reports Sunday. The alleged terrorists first attempted to assassinate the Egyptian president in 2014 when he was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, according to state-run Middle East News Agency. The second attempt was plotted by a seven-member terrorist unit that planned to target Sisi’s convoy when it travelled to Cairo, the report added without mentioning the year. The unit reportedly comprised of six former police officers and a dentist.
Authorities did not say how they foiled the assassination plans, but said 66 suspects confessed during a year-long investigation.
According to the authorities, the former police officers involved were part of a “bearded police officers” group that came up in 2012. Its members grew their beards as per their interpretation of Islamic teachings, but Egypt’s interior ministry called it a violation of police and military codes, and reportedly sent the officers to its reserve forces.
The suspects also planned to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in the Gulf kingdom, as well as five Egyptian judges, Agence France-Presse reported citing a prosecution official.
All suspects supported jihadist ideology and perceived state officials and members of the army, police and the judiciary are “infidels.”