Egyptian authorities arrested the acting leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Ezzat, during a raid on an apartment in Cairo.
Ezzat was an influential former deputy to Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, and was seen as a hardliner within the group. He became acting leader after Badie’s arrest in August 2013.
An interior ministry statement said Ezzat had been arrested at a flat used as a hide-out in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement district, and was accused of joining and leading a terrorist group and receiving illicit funds.
The interior ministry said encrypted communications equipment had been seized during the arrest, and said Ezzat was suspected of overseeing several assassinations or attempted assassinations as well as a bombing since 2013.
Ezzat had previously been sentenced to death and to life in prison in absentia. According to Egyptian law, he will face retrials in the cases following his arrest.
A picture distributed by the interior ministry and published by Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm al-Sabaa showed a gaunt and frail-looking Ezzat wearing a striped T-shirt.
He was “apprehended in a residential area east of the capital, despite incessant rumours circulated by officials of the Brotherhood about his presence abroad,” the ministry said.
Other senior members of the group have left the country, and many now live in Turkey.
Badie has received several life sentences and remains in prison in Cairo.