A court in Egypt has sentenced 14 people to death for a deadly attack on a police station in the Sinai region in July last year in which seven people were killed.
Only six of the defendants were in court – the others were tried in absentia. They are all accused of belonging to the banned Islamist group, Al-Tahwid Wal Jihad.
Lawlessness is said to have spread in the Sinai region – a largely demilitarised zone bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip – since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
Earlier this month violence flared again when 16 border guards were killed in an attack blamed on Islamist groups.
Locals say extremists are filling a power vacuum and accuse the new president, Mohammed Morsi, of not doing enough to protect them.
Meanwhile Morsi has presented medals to Hussein Tantawi and Sami Enan, just days after he ordered the two military chiefs to retire. The move is the latest in a power struggle between the new political class and the army that has been the power behind the thrown in the country for six decades.