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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living