CAIRO — Army firing squads executed two soldiers Thursday for a failed plot to kill President Hosni Mubarak, and nine men were sentenced to hang for a separate attack by Muslim militants on Egypt's prime minister.
The defendants on trial for the failed assassination of Prime Minister Atef Sedki were defiant as they appeared before a military court Thursday in Cairo, chanting: "Tell Mubarak his turn is coming!"
Sedki escaped unhurt in the Nov. 25 attack, but a 12-year-old schoolgirl was killed and 21 people were wounded when a bomb exploded as his motorcade was leaving his home.
The Islamic Jihad, which assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981, claimed responsibility for the attack, the third against a Cabinet minister last year. The group considers Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman its spiritual leader. The blind Egyptian cleric is being held in the United States on charges he masterminded the February, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.
The death sentences Thursday were the greatest number handed down in one trial since extremists opened a campaign more than two years ago to topple the secular government and turn Egypt into an Islamic republic.
The verdicts bring to 49 the number of militants sentenced to death in Egypt's response to the campaign of violence. Thirty-two have been executed. The others were tried in absentia and are at large.
More than 320 people have been killed, including militants slain by police, in the last two years.
As with the trial, held earlier this year, no announcement was made of the execution, which took place at an undisclosed location in northern Egypt.