Egyptian authorities arrest Muslim Brotherhood leader

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The supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, pictured in Cairo, on March 31, 2012 (AFP/File, Gianluigi Guercia)
Egyptian authorities said on Tuesday they had arrested the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, as they stepped up a campaign to crush the party of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
The 70-year-old Badie was taken into custody early Tuesday in a neighborhood of eastern Cairo where for weeks pro-Morsi protesters rallied against Egypt\’s new interim government.
ONTV, a private, pro-military satellite channel, aired footage purporting to show Badie upon his detention. The channel said that Badie was on his way to prison under tight security, quoting security sources.
Badie is due to go on trial August 25 along with other Brotherhood leaders.  Authorities accuse them of inciting deadly violence outside the group\’s headquarters in June, days before the military deposed Morsi.
Since the July 3 move, the official death toll for violence across Egypt has topped 1,000 people.  The Muslim Brotherhood says many more people have died.
Suspected Islamist militants ambushed and killed 24 policemen early Monday in the Sinai Peninsula.  
Hours earlier, police near Cairo killed 36 Islamist prisoners who allegedly tried to escape from custody.  Egyptian officials say the prisoners were suffocated by tear gas.
The U.S. State Department on Monday condemned all acts of violence in Egypt, but called the prisoner deaths "suspicious." Spokeswoman Jen Psaki also said the U.S. believes all sides must be involved in moving Egypt forward.
Also Monday, a lawyer for former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said his client will soon be released. Fareed el-Deeb said a court has cleared  Mubarak of charges that he and his sons stole public money for presidential palaces. Judicial sources have not confirmed the claim.
The 85-year-old  Mubarak still faces a retrial on charges he failed to stop the killing of protesters during the popular revolt that swept him from power in 2011.
The international community has fiercely condemned the violence, with rights group Amnesty International decrying it as "utter carnage".
And Human Rights Watch called on Egypt\’s rulers to "urgently reverse" instructions for police to use live ammunition against protesters.
The group\’s secretary general Salil Shetty warned the country\’s government had "stained its human rights record".
In response to the violence, EU ambassadors were recalled from their summer break for a meeting in Brussels, with foreign ministers due to review the bloc\’s ties with Egypt at an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
The European Union has pledged nearly five billion euros ($6.7 billion) in aid to Egypt but has cautioned this was under "constant review" after Morsi\’s ouster.
The United States has cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt but stopped short of suspending $1.3 billion in annual aid.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel urged Egypt\’s interim government to take an "inclusive approach to reconciliation" but admitted Washington\’s influence was limited.
The international response has not been uniformly critical, however. Both Saudi Arabia and Jordan have said they back Egypt in its fight against "terrorism".
In Israel, meanwhile, an official urged the West to support Egypt\’s military.
A state of emergency is in force in Egypt amid turmoil following a crackdown on Islamists in which hundreds have died.
Three days of mourning are being held for 25 police killed in Sinai by suspected Islamist militant extremists.
Almost 1,000 people, including more than 100 police and soldiers, are reported to have been killed in Egypt since Wednesday, when the army cleared protest camps set up by supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, many of them members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
On Sunday, 36 Islamist protesters died in a prison van in the capital, Cairo.
Source: Agencies

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