CAIRO, Egypt, AP -Egyptian authorities have detained a total of 12 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group in sweeps this week, police and an official for the group said Saturday.
The arrests came Friday in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, targeting mainly university organizers for the Brotherhood, which became Egypt’s largest opposition group in parliament after a surprise showing in elections last year.
Police said the 12 were arrested for hiding money, printers and other material advertising for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The 12 were detained for 15 days for questioning for possessing fliers urging people to join the Brotherhood, said the movement’s lawyer, Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud.
Seven of the arrests were announced Friday. Police on Saturday confirmed that five others had also been detained, including Rashad al-Bayoumi, a 70-year-old senior Brotherhood member.
The Brotherhood — the largest Islamic fundamentalist group in Egypt — is banned, but the government tolerates some of its activities. Its members ran as independents in November and December parliamentary elections and shocked the government by winning nearly 20 percent of the seats in parliament.
In December, authorities detained hundreds of its members, though many have since been released.