Egyptian man sentenced to death over Islamic State church attack
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Egyptian man sentenced to death over Islamic State church attack

Attacker convicted of opening fire and killing nine worshipers and a policeman at Saint Mina Coptic church in 2017

Egyptians gather during the funeral of the victims of the attack on the Saint Mina Coptic church, on December 29, 2017, at a church south of the capital Cairo. (AFP PHOTO / Samer ABDALLAH)
Egyptians gather during the funeral of the victims of the attack on the Saint Mina Coptic church, on December 29, 2017, at a church south of the capital Cairo. (AFP PHOTO / Samer ABDALLAH)

An Egyptian man was sentenced Sunday to death by hanging for a deadly attack on a Cairo church in 2017, claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, a judicial source said.

Ten people including a police officer were killed as the assailant targeted the Saint Mina Coptic church in Helwan, on the southern outskirts of Cairo.

According to the authorities, the attacker was armed with an assault rifle, ammunition, and a bomb he intended to detonate at the church.

A Cairo criminal court sentenced the man for “murdering nine Copts and a policeman, possessing weapons, and forming a terrorist group linked to IS,” the source said.

A second man, who is on the run, was sentenced to death in absentia, the source added.

Two others were sentenced in absentia to life in prison, four received 10-year terms, and two were given three years each in prison. Another defendant was acquitted.

All of those convicted have the possibility to appeal.

Coptic Christians, who account for around 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have been targeted in a string of attacks by IS in recent years that have left more than 100 dead.

Extremists have also killed hundreds of police officers and soldiers since the military toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, amid vast protests against his rule.

The courts have sentenced hundreds of people to death or lengthy jail terms after speedy mass trials.

Rights groups often accuse the regime of torture and of failing to ensure due process.

Egypt executed at least 43 people in 2018, according to Amnesty International.

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