Egypt crisis: Police arrest Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader Mohamed Badie in Cairo

Mr Badie and his deputy Khairat el-Shater, go on trial later this month for their alleged role in the killing of eight protesters in June

Police in Egypt have detained the supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to security officials and state television.

Mohamed Badie was taken into custody after he was found in an apartment in the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City, according to security officials and state television.

The apartment was very close to where supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi held a six-week sit-in protest that was cleared by officers last Wednesday.

Badie and his influential deputy Khairat el-Shater, who is also in custody, will 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 another step in the authorities’ crackdown on the Brotherhood’s leaders and officials, detaining scores of them across the country.

The arrest came the day after a bloody attack which saw 25 policeman killed in an ambush by suspected militants in the Sinai Peninsula.

It also follows a court ruling suggesting that the jailed former president Hosni Mubarak could be released later this week. The autocrat’s release could cause further unrest in the divided country after Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president and Mubarak’s successor, was removed in a military coup  on 3 July.

A state of emergency is in force amid the turmoil, with almost 900 people, including more than 100 police and soldiers reportedly killed since Wednesday.

The attack on a police convoy near the town of Rafah on the border with Gaza is thought to be one of the deadliest on state security forces in recent years.

On Monday night the 25 murdered policemen were given a funeral with full military honours. The men’s coffins were draped in red, white and black Egyptian flags and carried jointly by soldiers and police officers. Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has declared a nationwide state of mourning to mark the men’s deaths.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the strategically important area is home to a number of radical militant groups, some with links to al-Qa'ida.

The United States condemned the slaying of the police officers, repeating its commitment to help Egypt combat terrorism in Sinai.

Mubarak, 85, has been in detention since April 2011, two months after he was ousted in a revolution against his rule.

He was  sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of some 900 protesters during the 18-day uprising.

His sentence was overturned on appeal and he is now being retried, along with his security chief and six senior police commanders.

Two judicial officials said Mubarak could walk free as early as this week, after a criminal court ordered his release in a corruption case. The former leader and his two sons were accused of embezzling funds in order to maintain presidential palaces. His sons will be kept in custody.

Freeing Mubarak during one of the worst bouts of turmoil since he was ousted would be a huge risk for the military-backed government.

It could lend credibility to allegations the mass protests that preceded the 3 July coup that toppled Egypt's first democratically elected leader were the work of Mubarak-era figures searching for a way to reinstate the former regime.

Last week, the military raided two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, killing hundreds of people and triggering a wave of violence leaving at least 1,000 people dead.

Human Rights Watch has accused Egyptian security forces of using excessive force when they moved to clear the larger of the two camps.

The New York-based group said the assault amounted to the “most serious incident of mass unlawful killings in modern Egyptian history”.

Morsi has been held in an undisclosed location since he was deposed.

On Monday prosecutors ordered his detention for 15 days in connection with allegations that he conspired to kill and torture protesters during mass demonstrations by the opposition outside his presidential palace in December 2012.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert