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Hezbollah spy cell in Egypt found guilty of terror plots

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Presiding Judge Adel Abdelsalam Gomaa said the investigations showed the group had been planning operations with the aim of "hurting Egypt's economy, shredding the bonds between its people and spreading chaos," he read from the charges list.

"God is great. God will avenge us," the defendants roared from the dock, rattling at the prisoners' cage and climbing on it as soon as the judge read the verdict in a packed Cairo courtroom.

Outside the courthouse, family members wept on hearing the prison sentences, slapping their faces and screaming out their relatives' names.

"This is an oppressive government, they've already been tortured and humiliated for the past two years," said Sherin Ali, 36. Her husband Mohammed Shalabi, a fisherman, was given 10 years in prison. "His kids have been made homeless, there is not a penny at home," she sobbed.

In April 2009, Egypt's security apparatus said it had uncovered a cell belonging to Hezbollah and accused its members of planning to disrupt the country's safety and stability.

Hezbollah leader's denials

At the time, Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, admitted he'd sent one of the defendants, Mohamed Mansour, also known as Samy Shehab, to facilitate delivery of weapons into the Palestinian-inhabited Gaza Strip. Nasrallah, as well as the defendants, denied they had planned any attacks against Egypt.

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