- Life Style
Egyptian police and the Muslim Brotherhood say three top leaders, including the organization's number two, and ten provincial senior members have been arrested in a dawn sweep in Cairo and five other governorates.
Police arrested Monday the newly elected deputy leader, Mahmoud Ezzat, and two other members of the top-level Guidance Bureau, Essam el-Erian and Abdul Rahman el-Bir.
A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the media, said they were arrested for engaging in banned political activity.
The Brotherhood was banned in 1954 but is somewhat tolerated by the state. Its candidates are allowed to run for parliament as independents and in 2005 won 20 percent of the seats, making them Egypt's largest opposition bloc.
"The regime wanted to express its opinion to the new leaders by punishing them and tightening the noose on the old ones," Abdel Galil el-Sharnoubi, who runs the group's Web site, told The Associated Press.
The organization's new leader had said upon his inauguration that he would try to avoid confrontation with the government and would not respond to the periodic arrest campaigns.
"We reaffirm that the Brotherhood is not for one day an adversary to the regime," the newly elected Mohammed Badie on 16 January.
Badie was once a part of the radical wing and charged with seeking to overthrow Egypt's government and was jailed for nine years in the 1960s. When he became a leader, he reaffirmed the group's rejection of violence and urged other members to do the same.
"Show the world the true Islam, the Islam of moderation and forgiveness that respects pluralism in the whole world," he said at the conference announcing his new position.