CAIRO: The third trial session of 35 Islamists facing charges of shooting 25 Central Security Forces conscripts to death on Aug. 19, and attempting to murder 18 officers and conscripts on Aug. 16, 2013 in Zagazig will be held March 30, after the Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the second session Monday, Youm7 reported.
The first hearing of the trial was held on Feb. 19 and one of the defendants is Palestinian, according to the state-run news agency MENA.
The two incidents followed the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in on Aug. 14, during which supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi where forcibly removed by security forces, which resulted in at least 632 deaths as estimated by the state-run National Council for Human Rights. Reports by the Muslim Brotherhood place the number at over 2000, and reports by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights place the number at 904, with victims’ names being documented.
On Aug. 16, gunmen shot at two vehicles carrying 18 officers and conscripts, injuring 10 of them, according to MENA.
On Aug. 19, 27 conscripts were forced out of micro-buses in Rafah-Arish Road, and were later found dead on the side of the road. Only two survived the attack, sustaining severe injuries, the German news agency DPA reported.
The lead defendant is Adel Habara, 40, who was arrested on Sept. 1 in Arish in possession of grenades and admitted to being the commander of the attacks, MENA reported.
According to Al-Shorouq newspaper, the prosecution accuses Habara of establishing a “cluster of terrorist cells” named the Immigrants and Supporters, which prepared “an intellectual and military program to train the members of the group to carry out its objectives.”
The Immigrants and Supporters also collaborated with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to the prosecution’s investigation, Youm7 reported.
Operations by Sinai-based militant groups soared after the dispersal of sit-ins organized by supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is another militant group that claimed responsibility for several attacks against military and police targets, such as shooting down a military helicopter in Sinai on Jan. 25, killing four, and detonating a car bomb at Dakahlia Security Directorate on Dec. 24, killing 14.
Additional reporting by Nermeen Soliman.