CAIRO, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian prosecution referred Saturday 200 suspect members of a Sinai-based terrorist group to criminal court over murder and vandalism charges, state-run Ahram news website reported.
The 200 suspect members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis are accused of cooperation with al-Qaida organization and the Palestinian Hamas movement in plotting and carrying out 41 terrorist attacks across Egypt since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last July.
As many as 102 of the defendants are currently in custody while the other 98 are fugitives and they will be tried in absentia if not arrested.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis rose as a Sinai-based extremist group following Morsi's removal when the group claimed responsibility for a number of anti-government blasts, including the assassination attempt of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
Morsi was overthrown by the military in early July last year following mass protests against his one-year rule. The ouster was led by ex-military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi who gave up the military post to run in the upcoming presidential elections slated for May 26 and 27.
Morsi's removal was followed by a massive security crackdown on his Islamist supporters, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood group and its affiliates, where hundreds were killed and thousands were arrested.
Extremist Islamist groups have been launching terrorist attacks against police and military staff and facilities in response to Morsi's ouster and the crackdown on his loyalists.