Thirty detained following the attempted killing of Egyptian cleric

Thirty detained following the attempted killing of Egyptian cleric
2 min read
07 November, 2016
Egypt has accused jailed members of the Muslim Brotherhood of attempting to assassinate several public figures.
Egyptian authorities have detained 30 people suspected of trying to murder Egypt's former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa and Deputy Prosecutor Zakareya Abdel-Aziz.

The defendants, who authorities say are members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, were arrested on Friday.

"The investigations have revealed that the defendants were members of the Muslim Brotherhood group who formed terrorist cells that aim to conduct terrorist operations and assassinations under orders from the group’s fugitive [leaders]," prosecutors said in a statement on Sunday.

The assailants planned to kill several other public figures, the statement added.

They were charged with "forming a terrorist organisation that aims to overthrow the government as well as launching attacks against state institutions, public figures and police and army forces".

They were also charged with the possession of firearms and explosives.

A video showing the defendants "confessing" to the crime of "plotting terrorist attacks" was also published on the ministry of interior's Facebook page.

It is unclear whether the statements were made under duress, given that Egypt has in recent years been accused of holding unfair trials and torturing defendants.

The ministry said Friday that its investifations had allegedly revealed that the Brotherhood was using "terrorist entities" - including Haraket Thowar Misr, Hasm and Lowaa el-Thawra - "as a media front" to take the blame for the Brotherhood's alleged terror attacks.

The Hasm group said it was behind the attempted assassinations of Gomaa and Abdel-Aziz.

The ministry also claimed to have discovered documents revealing that Muslim Brotherhood leaders had admitted to masterminding the killing of public prosecutor Hisham Barakat in June 2015.

Egypt has seen an upsurge in violence that increased after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in June 2013.

It has culminated mainly in an armed Islamist insurgency in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, as well as several attacks on public officials in other areas, which authorities have attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood movement.