Egypt's Highest Appeals Court Orders Retrial in Mass Death Sentence Case

149 defendants are alleged to have attacked a police station in the town of Kerdasa in 2013 after Morsi's ouster, killing 11 policemen and two civilians.

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A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi holds Morsi's picture, and a copy of the Koran, at Talaat Harb Square, in Cairo, Jan. 25, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Egypt's highest appeals court on Wednesday ordered a retrial in a case in which 149 people were sentenced to death for allegedly storming a police station in 2013 and killing 11 policemen and two civilians.

The defendants are alleged to have attacked a police station in the town of Kerdasa, close to the pyramids at Giza, in the aftermath of the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, an act of anti-state violence later used to justify a widespread crackdown on Morsi's supporters.

After their murder, the policemen's bodies were mutilated, with one doused in acid and another scalped.

The Kerdasa case was one of several mass death sentences issued in the country in recent years.

Also Wednesday, Egyptian police killed two alleged militants in an upmarket Cairo neighborhood following a two-hour shootout early in the morning, security officials said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, the officials said two policemen were wounded during the raid on an apartment in Maadi, a wealthy suburb of the capital that is popular with expats. Explosive devices and guns were later found in the apartment, they said.

Following Morsi's ouster, Egypt has been hit by a wave of near-daily militant attacks often targeting police and army posts. Once confined to the volatile north of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, militants have begun to strike targets on the mainland in the past year.