CAIRO — An Egyptian court sentenced 14 members of an extremist group to death by hanging Monday for attacks on police in the Sinai Peninsula, ruling that the defendants were members of an organization that considers even other Islamists to be infidels.
Six of the men were present to be sentenced by the court in the Suez Canal governorate of Ismailia that borders Sinai, while eight more are fugitives and were convicted in absentia.
The death sentences highlight the conflict between the government of President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood, and extremist networks like el-Tawhid wi el-Jihad, blamed for the deadly attack last year in el-Arish city in northern Sinai.
The June 2011 attack against el-Arish’s main police station and a nearby bank killed a civilian and a number of police and military officers. The group was also found guilty of storming the police station in el-Arish and of smashing statues of President Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated in 1981 after signing Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.