CAIRO — The supreme leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was captured by police in an early morning riad Tuesday, Egyptian security officials said.
The arrest of Mohammed Badie marks a serious setback for the heart of the Islamist movement, which had risen to power after the fall of president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, only to see its fortunes fall with the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi in early July.
Officials said Badie was captured early Tuesday in an apartment in the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City. That’s where supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi held a six-week sit-in protest that was cleared by security forces last Wednesday. Morsi is a longtime leader of the Brotherhood.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Badie was charged last month with inciting the murder of protesters.
The private ONTV network showed footage of a man the network said was Badie after his arrest. In the footage, a somber looking Badie in an off-white Arab robe, or galabiyah, sits motionless on a sofa as a man in civilian clothes and carrying an assault rifle stands nearby.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry posted a number of pictures of Badie on its Facebook page.
“Carrying out the decisions of the public prosecutor to arrest and bring forward the ‘general guide’ of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, and through collected information and observation of movements, it was possible for the criminal search apparatus under the direction of Cairo’s security (services) to arrest him,” a caption with the picture read, according to a Reuters translation.
Badie and his powerful deputy Khairat el-Shater, who is in custody, go on trial later this month for their alleged role in the killing of eight protesters outside the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters in June.
His arrest is a serious blow to the group at a time when authorities are cracking down on its leaders and mid-ranking officials, detaining scores of them across the country.
One of Badie’s son’s was killed during Brotherhood protests last week in Cairo’s Ramses Square, Al-Jazeera reported.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press