A military court has referred 36 defendants accused of taking part in deadly church bombings to Egypt's top religious authority for consideration of the death penalty, state television reported on Tuesday.
The defendants are suspected of involvement in bombings that hit three Coptic churches - one at Cairo's Coptic Cathedral in December 2016 that killed at least 25, and two that hit churches in Alexandria and Tanta on the same day in April 2017 and killed more than 45 people.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for all three attacks.
Egypt requires that courts refer cases to the Grand Mufti for consideration of the death penalty ahead of a final verdict although his decision is non-binding.
The court is expected to issue a verdict on May 15 and 11 of the 36 are being tried in absentia, a lawyer involved in the case told Reuters.
Public prosecutor Nabil Sadek said previously that some of the suspects held leadership positions in Islamic State and formed cells in Cairo and the southern province of Qena to carry out the church attacks.
Some of the defendants are also accused of carrying out an attack on a checkpoint in Egypt's Western Desert that killed at least eight policemen in 2017.
Egypt is facing a more than three-year-old insurgency led by Islamic State that intensified after general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the military in overthrowing Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.
© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!
- Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details