CAIRO - Egypt's chief prosecutor charged 200 suspected militants Saturday with carrying out more than 50 terrorist attacks, killing 40 policemen and 15 civilians and conspiring with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in the first mass trial of a Jihadi group since the country's recent turmoil.
The defendants, 98 of whom remain on the run, are all suspected members of the al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group, or Champions of Jerusalem, which has claimed responsibility for the bloodiest attacks since a wave of violence picked up after the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last summer.
The prosecutor's statement refers to the group as "the most dangerous terrorist group" and accuses the defendants of receiving military training in the Palestinian Gaza Strip under the patronage of Hamas. It also says they traveled to Syria, where they took part in fighting against government forces before returning to Egypt.
Washington designated the group as a terrorist organization in April, accusing it of carrying out attacks in Israel and against security forces and tourists in Egypt.
Officials in Egypt accuse Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating the violence. The government has outlawed the Brotherhood and branded it a terrorist organization. Although producing little evidence, authorities allege the militant groups are a front for the Brotherhood.