Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis trial postponed to 11 August

Yousef Saba
3 Min Read
Islamic State-affiliated militant group “State of Sinai”, formerly known as Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis, rose to prominence after the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood government in July 2013. (Photo from State of Sinai Twitter account)

The Cairo Criminal Court postponed Wednesday the trial of 213 members of the extremist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis to a session on 11 August, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

The court adjourned Wednesday’s session to discuss witnesses’ testimonies.

The defendants are accused of committing 54 criminal acts, among which are forming and running a terrorist organisation which aims to disrupt the rule of law and prevent state institutions from carrying out their duties.

The general prosecution has also charged the defendants of violating the rights and freedoms of citizens and harming national unity and communal peace.

The trial resumed Wednesday after it was adjourned from a session the previous day.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis is a militant group at war with the authorities, based in the restive North Sinai region. The group rebranded itself as “State of Sinai” after pledging allegiance to the regional radical militant group “Islamic State”.

The group has claimed responsibility for much of the violence in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.

Early this month, intense clashes besieged t he city of Sheikh Zuweid in the region, in which 17 military personnel died and over 100 militants were killed, according to the official spokesman for the Egyptian military. The violence was among the worst seen since the beginning of the insurgency.

Egypt has been struggling to quell the violent insurgency, ongoing since early 2011 shortly after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster following a popular revolt.  Militant attacks intensified following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Morsi was overthrown after mass protests erupted against his rule and he failed to reach a consensus with national powers before an ultimatum issued by the military.

Attacks have more recently increased in other areas of Egypt, including the capital. Last month, the prosecutor general was assassinated in a Cairo explosion.

The death of the top official, marking the first assassination of a senior state figure since 1990, was seen as the peak of the intensifying attacks in urban areas.

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Yousef Saba is an aspiring multimedia journalist. He is studying Broadcast Journalism and International Politics at The Pennsylvania State University.
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