Sixteen, including a discharged police officer, were referred to court Saturday on charges of forming a terrorist cell in connection with the Islamic State (IS) group, according to judicial sources.
The 16, all from Egypt's Sharqiya governorate, are accused of forming a terrorist cell linked to IS and headed by the former policeman, attempting to overthrow the regime, and recruit Egyptian youth to the militant group.
The case was referred to one of the court's terrorism districts, created by Egypt's new terrorism law to give priority to terrorism-related cases over others.
Egypt's judicial system is overloaded with pending trials. Any given case can take years for a final verdict.
The former policeman accused in the case is Helmi Mohamed Hashem and is alledgedly in contact with the leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr El-Baghdadi.
Egypt has been fighting a militant insurgency in North Sinai for a decade. Recently, militant attacks, mostly claimed by IS affiliate Ansar Beit El-Maqdis (also known as Sinai Province), reached other governorates, including the capital.