An Egyptian criminal court has sentenced 188 people to death pending approval from the country's top religious official.

They are accused of involvement in a "massacre" of eleven policemen last August in the town of Kerdasa, east of Cairo, in one of the country's grisliest assaults on security forces.

The attack happened on the same day that security forces brutally cleared two protest camps of supporting ousted President Mohammed Morsi's, killing hundreds in the process.

The Tuesday decision requires the opinion of Egypt's top religious authority, after which the court will issue a final verdict.

Egypt has been criticized for recent mass death sentences, notably when a judge sentenced to death more than 1,200 people in two mass trials. The number of death sentences was later reduced to some 200.