The Giza Criminal Court decided Sunday to halt proceedings in the case filed against the militant group Ajnad Misr, pending a decision on a request for a change of courts.
The defence lawyer of one of the defendants had requested to change courts in the previous trial session, which occurred on 23 May.
Twenty alleged members of the extremist armed group are charged with conducting at least 20 different bomb attacks in Egypt. In April, the Giza Criminal Court imposed a media gag on the case. Defendants are accused of killing security personnel, as well as undertaking acts of vandalism and possession of weapons.
Prosecution authorities accused two of the defendants, Hamam Attia and Bilal Farahat, of forming the group based on extremist ideology, with the purpose of attacking state institutions and targeting security officers and the Egyptian Coptic-Christian community.
On its social media page, the group claimed responsibility for several bomb attacks against police officers, causing a number of deaths and serious injuries. Their strategy includes vowing to attack a target, followed by the release of teasers and either a video documenting the operation or a statement narrating the attack.
In April, an explosion that occurred in Zamalek, leaving one police officer dead and two others injured, was claimed by Ajnad Misr on the same day.
Following the explosion, the Interior Ministry spokesperson announced the death of Hamam Attia, who is also a defendant in the case. The death allegedly occurred after security forces raided a flat in the Haram district of Giza, where the alleged militant was hiding and exchanged fire with the suspect, leading to his death. Attia was described by the ministry as having been the founder of Ajnad Misr.
On 28 March, Ajnad Misr claimed responsibility for a bombing that injured eight people at the Cairo University metro station. The Health Ministry had announced eight injuries and no deaths, while the group claimed the bombing killed several police officers.
The group asserts it follows Islam only and “not any group of movement inside Egypt or outside”. It also accused the Egyptian state of “killing Muslims”.
However, Ajnad Misr is not the only radical Islamist group that is being prosecuted by the Egyptian state on charges of terrorism. Members from a group called Jund Allah were referred to military court in early March after being accused of attacking security forces.
Another high profile group with members on trial is “State of Sinai”, previously known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. The group changed its name after having officially pledged allegiance to “Islamic State”.