The U.S. State Department said Sunday it was deeply concerned by reports that Egyptian judicial officials plan to forward cases involving U.S.-funded NGOs to Cairo's criminal courts and want clarification from the Egyptian government.

We have seen media reports that judicial officials intend to forward a number of cases involving U.S.-funded NGOs to the Cairo criminal court, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Shannon, Ireland.

We are deeply concerned by these reports and are seeking clarification from Egypt, she said. Nuland is travelling with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The cases of 40 people - including U.S. citizens, other foreigners and Egyptians embroiled in a dispute over the activities and funding of pro-democracy groups - have been referred to court, Egyptian judicial sources said Sunday.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Louise Ireland)