Troops in Egypt clash with militants after bomb factory raid; 2 officers, 5 militants killed

The Associated Press

Egyptian military police soldiers run towards a checkpoint attacked by gunmen in Shubra al-Kheima, a suburb north of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 15, 2014. Egypt's state news agency said gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by the military police in the suburb on early Saturday, killing several of them. (AP Photo/Ahmed Gomaa)

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Also Wednesday, Egypt's Grand Mufti, the country's top Islamic jurist, ratified a court ruling last month sentencing 26 people to death on charges of forming a terrorist group to launch attacks on the vital Suez Canal. The mufti ratification is a requirement in Egypt when death sentences are involved. A 27th defendant received a 15-year sentence, lawyer Mohammed Abdel-Aziz said.

The 26 were sentenced in absentia. Five who had turned themselves in will be automatically retried, as will the rest once they are detained.

The case goes back to 2010 when the group was accused of plotting to attack the canal, but it was put on hold, Abdel-Aziz said. The case was revived in 2013, amid a rising wave of violent attacks in the country, and the verdict was made last month.

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