The other Brotherhood members arrested were identified as Gamal Abdul
Salam, head of the union's emergency relief committee and a businessman.
Fathi Lasheen, a retired judge and former adviser of the Justice Ministry,
and Abdul Rahman Al Gamal, said to be an educator, were also detained. Two
parliamentarians were detained.
Abdul Salam was alleged to have been a leading Brotherhood link to
Hamas. In December 2008, he was jailed for about eight weeks on charges of
trying to form a jihad group linked to Hamas.
Brotherhood sources said the arrests reflected an Egyptian effort to
block an international Brotherhood insurgency network linked to Hamas and
Hizbullah. They said suspected Hamas and Hizbullah were also detained over
the last year.
At the same time, a Cairo court ordered the release of 13 senior members
of the Brotherhood. The men, including Guidance Council member Osama Nasser
El Din, had been accused of laundering money to fund insurgency activities.
Egyptian security sources said the Brotherhood has been linked
operationally to Hamas since at least 2003. They said Brotherhood operatives
helped Hamas smuggle weapons from Sudan through Egypt and to the Gaza Strip.
The Brotherhood was alleged to have received 2.7 million euro from
Hizbullah headquarters in Lebanon. The sources said the money was to finance
Hizbullah-sponsored operations in Egypt, including weapons smuggling to the
Gaza Strip and military training for Hamas.
The Brotherhood said the security crackdown would not succeed and the
opposition movement would continue with reform efforts. But the movement
warned against a bloody period in Egypt.
"The arrests were conducted as part of a sacrifice to the Americans and
the Zionists to ensure the continuation of the regime's grip on governance,"
the Brotherhood said.