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Egypt Court Orders Retrial of 16 Accused of Killing Police

An Egyptian court Saturday ordered the retrial of 16 people sentenced to death or long prison terms for their involvement in the deaths of 25 policemen in the restive Sinai peninsula.

They were among 35 people accused of involvement in a rocket-propelled grenade attack on a police bus in August 2013 that was travelling to Rafah, on the border with the Gaza Strip. 

In December, a court sentenced seven to death -- six of them in absentia -- and three others to life in prison. A further 22 were sentenced to 15 years in jail and three were acquitted. 

But on Saturday, the Court of Cassation overturned the sentences of 16 prisoners convicted of direct involvement in the attack and ordered their retrial, according to an official. 

It said there had been procedural irregularities in their trial. 

Militants have killed scores of policemen and soldiers in an insurgency in the Sinai peninsula since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Hundreds of Morsi supporters, and dozens of policemen, were killed in protest violence after his overthrow.

The main militant outfit, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, pledged allegiance in November, which controls territory in Iraq and Syria.

It is based in the north of Sinai, but has carried out attacks in Cairo and killed three South Korean tourists in a suicide bombing last year in a south Sinai resort.

Source: Agence France Presse


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