Cairo, Nov 25 An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced seven people to death for joining the Islamic State (IS) in Libya and contributing in beheading 21 Copts, the media reported.
The defendants formed a cell in the north coast city of Marsa Matrouh province bordering Libya for training and recruiting new elements and planning for terrorist operations, the official news agency MENA cited a prosecutor as saying.
Cairo Criminal Court referred the files of seven members of the militant group to the country's highest religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for his non-binding Islamic legal opinion on their execution.
The accused militants took part in terrorist attacks in Cairo, Alexandria, Maras Matrouh and also outside Egypt from 2012 till April 2016, the court judge said.
Some of the terrorists contributed in killing 21 Egyptians Copts who were working in Libya in February 2015, Xinhua news agency reported.
Egypt has been fighting against a wave of terror activities that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the military toppled Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently blacklisted Brotherhood group.
Terror attacks in Egypt used to focus on police and military men in North Sinai before spreading nationwide and targeting the Coptic minority as well, with most of them claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to the regional IS group.