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ISIS’s Egypt affiliate urges attacks on judges

21 May 2015, 07:45

Cairo - Islamic State's Egypt affiliate on Wednesday urged followers to attack judges, declaring a new front in an Islamist militant insurgency in the world's most populous Arab state.

The leader of the group, Sinai Province, called for violence against judges in an audio statement posted on a prominent jihadist website on Wednesday.

Reuters could not confirm the authenticity of the recording.

Also Read: Lonely man finds home in Islam, then ISIS

A spate of attacks targeting judges suggests they are the latest targets of an insurgency centred in North Sinai that has killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police in the past two years.

"It is wrong for the tyrants to jail our brothers," cleric Abu Osama al-Masry said, referring to judges. "Poison their food... surveil them at home and in the street... destroy their homes with explosives if you can."

A full-blown campaign against judges could spell trouble for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power in mid-2013 after mass protests against its rule.

Bombing and shooting attacks

Sisi has only just managed to deliver a degree of stability to Egypt after years of political upheaval triggered by an uprising in 2011 that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Although the judiciary says it is independent of the government and military, some of Egypt's judges have drawn accusations of blatant bias by handing down lengthy jail terms and mass death sentences against Islamists.

The recording appeared days after a court's decision to seek the death penalty for Morsi and follows the state's execution of six members of Sinai Province for an attack on soldiers in Cairo last year.

Also Read: Air strikes in Syria kill at least 170 ISIS militants - monitor

So far, Sinai Province has focused its bombing and shooting attacks on members of Egypt's security forces, who mounted the country's toughest crackdown on Islamists since Morsi’s ouster.

Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed in Cairo protest camps and thousands of others were arrested.

Cairo makes no distinction between the Brotherhood and ultra-hard-line Sunni groups such as Islamic State, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria and is boosting its presence in Egypt's neighbour Libya.

The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement still determined to return to power through streets protests even though its top leaders are in prison.

- Reuters


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