CAIRO, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- An Egyptian court on Tuesday has sentenced 21 persons to death over charges of joining and forming Islamic State (IS)-linked terrorist group, official news agency MENA reported.
The defendants were convicted of leading and joining a group which adopted ideas that called for killing the leader and to change the regime by force as well as assaulting the police and army institutions.
The convicted were also charged of possessing bombs and explosive deceives for using it in terrorist operations that will jeopardize the public security and order, national unity and social peace.
The defendants admitted joining IS's calls of killing the leaders, security men and the Copt, as the judge read.
The court referred the sentence to Grand Mufti, the country's highest Islamic official who will give the religious judgment of all preliminary death sentences.
The Mufti's opinion is non-binding as it is usually considered a formality, but his final opinion could reduce the penalty.
Egypt has been experiencing anti-security attacks since the army-led ouster of the Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
North Sinai province is the main stronghold of the terrorist groups in Egypt, especially the IS-affiliate "Sinai State," which claimed reasonability for killing hundreds of police and army men.