Egypt detains at least 350 Brotherhood members

The detentions took place on Saturday after a large protest in central Cairo organised by the Islamist group against the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Egypt detains at least 350 Brotherhood members
Egyptian police detained at least 350 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, the group and security officials said on Sunday, in the largest such round-up for months.

The detentions took place on Saturday after a large protest in central Cairo organised by the Islamist group against the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

One security source estimated 620 of the group's members had been detained on Saturday and Sunday, and said they were being held on suspicion of inciting demonstrations and membership of an illegal organisation.

The Brotherhood is Egypt's strongest opposition group and has historical and ideological ties with Hamas Islamists in Gaza. It said Saturday's detentions brought the total number of its members held to above 1,050.

The group said it was still trying to find out where the men were being held, and the number could rise as more information was collected.

The detained men were from several provinces, and had come to Cairo for the demonstrations on Saturday where Egyptian police used batons to beat protesters.

The Brotherhood has been leading a campaign against the three-week Israeli attack, which has killed more than 1,300 Palestinians. Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians, hit by Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza, have also died.

The Islamist group has criticised the Egyptian government for not opening the Rafah border crossing with Gaza under heavy Israel siege.

The Egyptian government says it would only open the border for regular traffic in the presence of the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, whose forces Hamas drove out of the strip in 2007.

The government calls the Brotherhood an outlawed group but allows it to operate relatively openly.


Reuters
Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2009, 11:42
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