Egyptian court upholds death sentence for ISIS terrorists over beheading of 21 Christians

An Egyptian court has decided to uphold the death sentences handed to seven individuals accused of being Islamic State terrorists and of beheading 21 men --- mostly Coptic Christians --- in Libya.

(REUTERS / Social media via Reuters TV)Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State (IS) are marched by armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from an undated video made available on social media on February 15, 2015.

In February 2015, ISIS militants posted a video that showed the purported beheadings of 21 men on a beach in Libya. The seven individuals who were handed death sentences for the crime were also accused of plotting more terror attacks, Christian Broadcasting Network detailed.

The ruling on Saturday was made just a day after a mosque attack in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula took place. The terror attack left more than 300 people, mostly Muslims, dead. Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has since instructed the military to do everything to stabilize the restive region in three months.

The mosque attack has been described as the deadliest attack on civilians by Islamic extremists in the history of Egypt. In response to the latest incident, the military launched airstrikes and targeted mountainous areas around the Al-Rawdah mosque where the militants are suspected to be keeping themselves hidden, Haaretz reported.

For several years, the local ISIS affiliate in Egypt had been perpetrating violent attacks in northern Sinai. It claimed it was responsible for a number of church bombings in Cairo and other cities, but the latest incident was the first major attack targeting a Muslim mosque.

Police officers on the scene of the attack said the Islamist assailants fired shots from four vehicles, hitting worshippers inside the mosque who were in the middle of their Friday prayers. The terrorists also blew up cars and blocked roads that could be used for escape.

Meanwhile, in the Western Desert, militants have also been increasing the frequency of its violent attacks. Data from the Interior Ministry said 16 police officers were killed in an attack in October and dozens more also died in a separate attack southwest of Cairo.