(AP) CAIRO — Egypt on Tuesday executed four Islamists following their conviction by a military tribunal of killing three military academy students in a 2015 bomb attack that wounded six others.
The attack took place outside a stadium in the Nile Delta city of Kafr el-Sheikh as the military cadets were waiting for a bus to take them to the academy.
Tuesday’s executions at a prison in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria bring to 19 the number of militants executed over the past week.
Authorities executed 15 jihadists on December 26 after a military court convicted and sentenced them to death over a 2013 attack on a military checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula, home of a long running insurgency by Islamic militants. An officer and eight soldiers were killed in that attack.
Six militants were hanged in a separate terror case in 2015 after being convicted also by a military tribunal. Rights groups say the legal process against all 21 was flawed. They also decried last month’s executions, arguing that at least one of the 15 was tortured in detention and that relatives were not allowed to see them on the day of their execution in accordance with regulations covering capital punishment.
The spate of executions follows an uptick in high-profile attacks by militants and repeated vows by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to use “brute force” to crush the insurgency, now spearheaded by a local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group. Sissi has also warned that he expected IS militants who had fought in Syria and Iraq to join the Sinai insurgency after the loss of their strongholds in the two countries.
On Friday, a gunman killed at least nine people when he attacked a Christian church in a Cairo suburb and a nearby Christian-owned shop. On December 19, jihadists fired a guided rocket that damaged a helicopter at the airport of el-Arish during a previously unannounced visit by the defense and interior ministers to the Sinai coastal city. IS claimed responsibility for both attacks.
In the deadliest attack on civilians, 311 worshipers were killed inside a mosque in northern Sinai on November 24. There was no claim of responsibility for the massacre, but witness accounts said the gunmen carried the Islamic State’s black banner.