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Egypt hangs six members of IS affiliate group

An Egyptian military court upheld the death sentence for six men reportedly belonging to militant group associated with IS
A body lies on the ground following a gun battle between militants and Egyptian security forces in the village of Arab Charkas (AFP)

Egyptian authorities hanged six men convicted of a carrying out a terror attack in the name of the country’s top militant movement which had announced its affiliation to the Islamic State group, police said.

“On Sunday morning, the death sentence was carried out against six terrorist elements arrested during a raid on a location belonging to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group in the village of Arab Sharkas in the northern province of Qalioubiya,” a security source, requesting anonymity, told the Anadolu Agency.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, who are active in the restive Sinai Peninsula, changed their name to Welayet Sinai after reportedly pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in November last year.

The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks against Egyptian police and army personnel in the peninsula in recent months.

The six men were sentenced to death for the attack on the Mostord checkpoint north of Cairo last year on 15 March, in which six soldiers were killed. 

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the military released a statement saying that the assailants opened fire on military policemen as they finished their morning prayers, and then planted two bombs to target the first responders on the scene.

The army spokesman Colonel Ahmad Ali told AFP at the time that the soldiers had little opportunity to defend themselves.

“They were praying,” he said.

The six men were arrested in Match 2014 when Egyptian police and soldiers raided their safe-house north of Cairo. A gun battle ensued, in which two army explosive experts and six other members of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis were killed.

The six men were tried by a military tribunal, and sentenced to death in October.

The hanging took place in a Cairo jail, despite appeals from human rights organisations to spare them the death penalty as two of the men were already in custody at the time of their alleged crime.

Amnesty International said the men underwent a “grossly unfair” trial and that the only witness during the trial was a secret police officer.