Skip to main content

Egypt arrests Muslim Brotherhood leader in Cairo

Egyptian security forces arrested Mahmoud Ezzat during a raid on an apartment east of Cairo.
ezzat.png

Egypt has arrested the acting leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Interior Ministry said Friday, as part of a long-running crackdown on the banned Islamist group. 

“After monitoring his movement for a while,” Mahmoud Ezzat, 76, was found during a raid on an apartment in a Cairo suburb “despite incessant rumors circulated by officials of the Brotherhood about his presence abroad,” a ministry statement said. 

The ministry said police searching the apartment discovered a number of encrypted computers and mobile phones used to communicate with Brotherhood members. 

Ezzat had previously been sentenced twice in absentia to death, as well as life imprisonment, for charges including espionage and leadership of a terrorist group. Under Egyptian law, those convicted in absentia face retrials after their arrest. 

The Interior Ministry statement accused Ezzat of overseeing major terror operations, including the assassination of Egypt’s former public prosecutor in 2015, and a deadly car bombing outside Cairo’s main cancer hospital last summer that killed 20 people. 

Considered a terrorist organization by the government, the Muslim Brotherhood has been under increased pressure since the military takeover that forced Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi from power seven years ago. 

Morsi, who became the country’s first democratically elected president in 2012, died last year after collapsing in a courtroom while in Egyptian custody. Many of the group’s senior figures, including spiritual leader Mohamed Badie, have been jailed and sentenced to death or life in prison. Others have fled the country and found refuge in Turkey. 

Security forces operating under Morsi’s successor, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, have rounded up thousands of perceived Brotherhood supporters under the pretext of combatting terrorism. Human rights campaigners accuse the former army chief of exploiting the country’s state-of-emergency and protest laws to crush dissent. 

Human Rights Watch estimated at least 60,000 people have been arrested on political grounds in Egypt during Sisi’s rule.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial