An Egyptian criminal court has sentenced at least 185 people to death pending an appeal process and approval from the country's top religious official.

They are accused of involvement in a "massacre" of 11 policemen last August in the town of Kerdasa, in the west of Cairo, in one of the country's deadliest assaults on security forces.

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

The ruling is preliminary and subject to a lengthy appeals process. Tuesday's decision also requires a non-binding opinion of Egypt's top religious authority, after which the court will issue a final verdict.

Egypt has been criticised 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 about 200. None of the sentenced people have been executed yet.

Morsi, a senior figure of the Muslim Brotherhood, had been forced from office by the military in July, following mass protests against him.

He was succeeded by President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, a former military chief.

Source: Agencies