Police arrest two Muslim Brotherhood lawmakers in latest crackdown

Police arrest two Muslim Brotherhood lawmakers in latest crackdown

Two lawmakers from the banned Muslim Brotherhood were arrested Wednesday, the police and the group”s officials said, in what has become an intensifying crackdown on the nation”s most powerful opposition movement.

Legislators Sabri Amer and Ragab Abu Zaid were arrested in Manufiya, a district some 85 kilometers north of Cairo, in early morning raids on their homoes, a police official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the two were “wanted for questioning in a case with other Brotherhood members.”

The two legislators had their parliament immunity stripped in May, after state security accused them of taking part in the group”s unlawful activities. But no arrest warrants had been issued against them.

Head of the Brotherhood bloc in parliament, Saad el-Katatni, said the arrests were part of a crackdown on the group but added that the Brotherhood “will not be intimidated and will continue our struggle against corruption.”

he Brotherhood, which has been banned since 1954, is Egypt”s largest opposition group. Its lawmakers, who run as independents, currently hold 88 seats in the 454-member lower house of the parliament.

Authorities have increasingly clamped down on the Islamist group since December, including sending 40 of its top financiers and businessmen to a military tribunal on charges of money laundering and supporting terrorism.

Eighteen senior members of the Brotherhood group were arrested on Sunday for allegedly holding anti-government meetings, their lawyer and police officials said.

The Brotherhood claim that at least 600 of its members have been detained, including key leaders.

Wednesday”s arrests came amid reports that the Brotherhood plans to launch a political party to challenge the constitutional ban on Islamist political groups.