Plotters in church-bombing scheme sentenced in Egypt

Cairo, Egypt, Apr 1, 2019 / 10:29 am (CNA).- A court in Cairo sentenced Saturday 30 men to between 10 years and life imprisonment. They were charged with planning to bomb a church in Alexandria, an attack which was not carried out.

Egypt has seen a number of attacks on churches in recent years, motivated in part by a call from the Islamic State.

Of the 30 men sentenced March 30, only 20 were in court. Ten remain on the run. Prosecutors said they had been trained abroad and were influenced by Islamic State.

They were also accused of joining an illegal group, possessing explosives, and planning to attack a liquor store, Reuters reported.

In February 2017 the Islamic State issued a call to target Egypt's Christians.

At least seven Coptic Orthodox people were killed, and 12 injured, in a November 2018 attack on a bus travelling to St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in Minya governorate. Another attack on a group of pilgrims to the monastery in May 2017 had killed 29.

In December 2017, 11 people were killed in an attack on a church in Helwan, in Minya governorate.

Attacks on churches committed on Palm Sunday of 2017 killed 45 and injured more than 125.

St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral was bombed in December 2016, killing 29.

About 10 percent of Egypt’s population are Christian, the vast majority of whom are Coptic Orthodox.

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