Middle East

Egypt executes six convicted Sinai Province militants

Egyptians gather at the scene following a bombing that struck a main police station in the capital of the northern Sinai province in el-Arish, Egypt, 12 April 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Security forces in Sinai have been targeted in several attacks by militants

Egypt has executed six men convicted of carrying out an attack on soldiers last year, state media report.

The six men, who were hanged, were accused of being members of militant group Sinai Province, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS).

They were found guilty of killing of two officers during a gunfight in March 2014.

However, rights groups had called for a retrial for the six men, arguing that the court process was flawed.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said that three of the men were in custody at that time, and could not have carried out the attack in Arab Sharkas, a village north of Cairo.

Amnesty described the men's trial as "grossly unfair" and said the men said they were tortured into confessing to the charges.

The Sinai Province group has carried out a series of attacks against military targets in Egypt's Sinai peninsula since the army ousted President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

The group has been involved in suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, assassinations and beheadings.

The group was previously called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Champions of Jerusalem), but announced a name change in November 2014 after pledging allegiance to IS.

The execution comes a day after a court handed down death sentences to Mr Morsi and more than 100 other people, over a mass prison break in 2011.

Shortly after the ruling, gunmen shot dead four people, including three judges, in the northern Sinai city of al-Arish.

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