Egypt hangs 15 over attacks on security forces

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Egyptian authorities on Tuesday executed 15 prisoners convicted of attacks on security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, police officials said.

The men were hanged in two jails where they had been held since military courts sentenced them for the attacks in the Sinai, where jihadists are waging an insurgency, the officials said.

It was the largest mass execution carried out in the North African country since six convicted jihadists were hanged in 2015.

Targeted civilians

The hangings come a week after the Islamic State group attacked a helicopter with an anti-tank missile at a North Sinai airport as the country's defence and interior ministers were visiting.

The ministers were unhurt in the attack but an aide to the Defence minister was killed along with a pilot.

IS's Egypt affiliate has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in attacks in the Sinai and also targeted civilians in the mainland.

Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds to death over unrest since the military ousted divisive Islamist president Mohamed Morsy in 2013.

Less frequent

But most defendants have appealed and won retrials.

Egypt has struggled to defeat the jihadists in Sinai.

While their attacks have become less frequent, they have increasingly targeted civilians over the past year.

In November, suspected IS gunmen massacred more than 300 Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Sinai associated with Sufi Muslims IS views as heretical.

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The jihadists have killed more than 100 Christians in church bombings and shootings since December last year.

After the mosque massacre, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi instructed his military chief of staff to quell the attacks in three months using "brutal force".

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