News / Middle East

Egyptian Police Crack Down on Brotherhood Supporters; One Killed

Egyptian security officials inspect the wreckage of a bus that was damaged by an explosion in Cairo, Dec. 26, 2013.
Egyptian security officials inspect the wreckage of a bus that was damaged by an explosion in Cairo, Dec. 26, 2013.
Reuters
Egypt escalated its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday, detaining at least 16 of the group's supporters on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization the day after it was declared one by the government.

One person was killed on Thursday when student supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with residents of a Cairo district where they were protesting, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
 
The activists were held in the Nile Delta province of Sharkiya on suspicion of “promoting the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood group, distributing its leaflets, and inciting violence against the army and police,” the state news agency said.
 
Egyptian police stand guard after an explosion has hit a public bus in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district, Dec. 26, 2013.Egyptian police stand guard after an explosion has hit a public bus in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district, Dec. 26, 2013.
x
Egyptian police stand guard after an explosion has hit a public bus in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district, Dec. 26, 2013.
Egyptian police stand guard after an explosion has hit a public bus in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district, Dec. 26, 2013.
The government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group on Wednesday in response to a suicide attack a day earlier that killed 16 in the Nile Delta, accusing the group of carrying out the bombing. The Brotherhood condemned the attack.

The government did not provide evidence to back up the charge that the Brotherhood had staged the Nile Delta attack in Mansoura, north of Cairo, which was claimed by the Sinai-based radical Islamist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. 

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has derides the Brotherhood for its lack of militancy, has taken responsibility for several other major bombings, including a failed attempt to kill the interior minister in September.
 
​Interior Ministry spokesman Hani Abdel Latif told state TV on Thursday that anyone taking part in Brotherhood protests would be jailed for five years. “The sentence could be death for those who lead this organization,” he added.
 
Earlier in the day a bomb explosion in Cairo wounded five people, and Latif said a second similar home-made device was found nearby and dismantled.
 
The Brotherhood's Islamist allies responded defiantly to the cabinet decision announced late on Wednesday, vowing to continue the protests it has staged against the army since the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi.
 
“The putchists are a terrorist organization. The Brotherhood are peaceful patriots,” they said in a statement.
 
Driven underground
 
Wednesday's move marked an escalation in the government's campaign to suppress the Islamist movement that propelled Morsi to the presidency 18 months ago but has been driven underground since the army toppled him in July after big protests against him.
 
In the weeks after Morsi's removal, the security forces killed hundreds of his supporters while dispersing their protest camps, and arrested thousands more including most of the Brotherhood's top leadership.
 
Though the Brotherhood has been outlawed for most of its existence, this is the first time it has been formally listed as a terrorist organization.
 
FILE - A Nov. 2013 image made from video provided by Egypt's Interior Ministry shows ousted President Mohammed Morsi (R), speaking from the defendant's cage during a trial hearing in Cairo, Egypt.FILE - A Nov. 2013 image made from video provided by Egypt's Interior Ministry shows ousted President Mohammed Morsi (R), speaking from the defendant's cage during a trial hearing in Cairo, Egypt.
x
FILE - A Nov. 2013 image made from video provided by Egypt's Interior Ministry shows ousted President Mohammed Morsi (R), speaking from the defendant's cage during a trial hearing in Cairo, Egypt.
FILE - A Nov. 2013 image made from video provided by Egypt's Interior Ministry shows ousted President Mohammed Morsi (R), speaking from the defendant's cage during a trial hearing in Cairo, Egypt.
State prosecutors last week ordered Morsi and others to stand trial on charges including terrorism for which they could be executed. A Brotherhood activist, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of arrest, said the new decision seemed aimed at deterring further protests against the government.
 
The cabinet said terrorism charges could be applied to anyone who finances or promotes the group “verbally and in writing”. Publication of the Brotherhood's newspaper, Freedom and Justice, was halted in response to the decision.
 
“We will continue with the protests. Peaceful action is the hope,” said the activist from Alexandria.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood

  • Egypt's largest and oldest Islamist organization
  • Was banned under Hosni Mubarak
  • The Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi was elected president in 2012
  • The Brotherhood won the most seats in 2012 parliamentary elections
  • Brotherhood supporters have staged massive protests since Morsi's ouster
  • Egypt outlawed the group again in September 2013
  • Egypt's military-installed government declared it a terrorist organization in December 2013
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, the pro-Morsi coalition, called for a “week of anger” and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Brotherhood, called for protests on Friday after the cabinet's move.
 
​The public prosecutor's office, which is investigating the Mansoura bombing, said there would be no comment until its investigation was complete.
 
Bombings and shootings targeting the security forces have become commonplace, with around 350 soldiers and policemen killed. The state has declared itself in “a war on terror”.
 
Most of the attacks have been in the Sinai Peninsula, though the Mansoura attack suggested the violence is spreading to the more heavily populated areas of the Nile Valley and Delta.
 
The government has said violence will not derail its political transition plan. The next step is a mid-January referendum on a new constitution.
  • Activists shout anti-terrorism slogans as they hold posters with Arabic slogans that read, "Egypt is entrusted to us. The army and people are one hand," during a rally in Cairo, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • An activist holds a sign with an anti-terrorism picture and Arabic that reads "terrorists brotherhood" during an anti-terrorism demonstration in Cairo, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Egyptian police stand guard after an explosion hit a public bus in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Bus driver Adel Abd El Fatah sits inside a damaged bus after a bomb blast near the Al-Azhar University campus in Cairo's Nasr City district, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Egyptians carry the coffin of a victim killed in an explosion at a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, Egypt, Dec. 24, 2013.
  • An Egyptian man makes his way through rubble at the scene of an explosion at a police headquarters building in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, Egypt, Dec. 24, 2013.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs