CAIRO - Twenty-six men accused of plotting attacks on Egyptian tourist resorts and ships in the Suez Canal on behalf of Lebanon's Hezbollah are to be tried in a security court, the public prosecutor said on Sunday.
They are charged with conspiracy to murder, spying for a foreign organisation with the intent of conducting terrorist attacks, and weapons possession, prosecutor Abdel Magid Mahmud said in a statement.
Four of the accused men, including Lebanese alleged mastermind Mohammed Qubyan, are on the run. Qubyan is believed to have left the country and the others are hiding in the Sinai Peninsula's mountains, security officials say.
The men in custody have also been charged with refusing to help security catch the fugitives.
The prosecutor said in April that 49 men were suspected of plotting attacks against Sinai tourist resorts and ships passing through the Suez Canal on the orders of Hezbollah.
The suspects include two Lebanese alleged Hezbollah ringleaders, five Palestinians, a Sudanese man and Egyptians.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah admitted in April that one of the captured men, Mohammed Yusef Mansur, identified as Sami Shihab, was a Hezbollah agent tasked with smuggling weapons to the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, but stressed that the operation was directed at the Israeli occupation, not Cairo.
State security courts set up under Egypt's emergency laws, in place since 1981, have no right of appeal.
The Egyptian press has given conflicting accounts of Mansur's confessions.
Their lawyers say the suspects are innocent.
Hezbollah is a vocal supporter of Palestinian democratically elected Hamas, which is very popular among the population of Egypt.
It accused Cairo of complicity in the Israeli blockade on Gaza and such accusations added to the Egyptian President's unpopularity in the country.