CAIRO — Egyptian authorities have arrested the acting supreme guide of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, Mahmoud Ezzat, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
“Ezzat, head of the Brotherhood’s International Organization, was arrested in an apartment in New Cairo’s fifth settlement neighborhood,” the statement posted on the ministry’s Facebook page said. “He used the apartment as a hideout to run anti-security terrorist operations,” the statement said, adding that the Brotherhood’s leaders were promoting rumors about Ezzat being abroad to mislead the authorities. During the security raid, several laptops and mobile phones used for communication with the group’s leaders and members inside the country and abroad were seized, it added.
The group interim leader has founded an armed wing that carried out major terrorist operations in Egypt since June 30, 2013, according to Egyptian authorities. The statement stressed that the terrorist operations included the assassination of the former general prosecutor Hisham Barakat in 2015, police Colonel Wael Tahoon in 2015, top-ranked army officer Adel Ragei in 2016, and the attempted assassination of the general prosecutor’s former aide Zakaria Abdel-Azim in 2016. It added that Ezzat has also orchestrated the deadly car blast outside the country’s national cancer hospital in 2019 that killed 20 people.
Ezzat, 76 years old, was named the group’s acting supreme guide in August 2013, replacing Mohamed Badie who currently serves life sentences over violence charges. Promoted as a member of the group’s guidance bureau in 1981, Ezzat has been sentenced in absentia for a life term on accusations of espionage with the Palestinian Hamas movement.