Egypt security court sentences Islamist militant to death

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CAIRO: An Egyptian state security court sentenced an Islamist militant to death on Wednesday for a spate of attacks targeting police in the 1990s, a judicial source said.

He said that the emergency court’s unappealable sentence against Abdel Hamid Abu Aqrab had been referred for endorsement to the government’s official interpreter of Islamic law, the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, who very rarely contradicts a death penalty.

The court accused Aqrab of heading the military wing of the Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya and carrying out attacks against security men, including the 1993 assassination of a police commander in southern Assiut province.

Aqrab spent 15 years on the run before a relative is said to have turned him in.
He was found guilty of "premeditated murder and surveilling police commanders," the official said.

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya claimed responsibility for a string of attacks in the 1990s against police targets before President Hosni Mubarak ordered a crackdown that netted thousands of Islamist activists.

A former spiritual leader of the group, Omar Abel Rahman, is jailed in the United States for involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Many of the group’s activists in Egypt have been released from jail after renouncing violence.

Egypt has seen sporadic attacks by Islamist militants over the past two decades targeting tourists, an important source of revenue for the country.

Dozens of Egyptians and foreigners died in bombings of Sinai tourist resorts between 2004 and 2006. A French girl was killed in a pipe bomb explosion in a Cairo bazaar in early 2009.

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