Egypt arrests Morsi supporter linked to Cairo attack
15 October 2013, 21:32
Cairo - Egyptian security officials said on Tuesday that
authorities had arrested a supporter of deposed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi
suspected of involvement in a rocket-propelled grenade attack on a state-owned
satellite station in Cairo.
Any link between the suspect and Morsi in the 7 October attack
in the capital is likely to be used to justify tougher measures against
Islamists, who authorities have portrayed as terrorists since the army seized
power on 3 July.
Two people were wounded in the attack in the Maadi suburb of
Cairo, the same day that suspected militants killed six Egyptian soldiers near
the Suez Canal.
Security officials said a clothes merchant identified as
Moataz Mahmoud had been detained. Authorities found weapons including parts of
an RPG resembling the ones used in the Maadi attack and a machinegun in his
apartment, they said.
"We have strong suspicions that he was involved in the
attack," said one of the security officials, adding that the man is a
supporter of Morsi.
Security officials said Mahmoud participated in a weeks-long
sit-in in northeast Cairo that was organised by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood
Police and soldiers moved in to clear the vigil in August,
killing hundreds of protesters. Brotherhood supporters said Egyptian forces
shot at unarmed civilians, but the authorities said they were defending
themselves after coming under attack.
Authorities accused the Brotherhood of storing weapons at
the site, an allegation the movement has denied.
Fears are growing
Egypt has been thrown into political turmoil since the army
toppled Morsi and installed an interim government after mass protests against
The turmoil has hammered tourism and investment in a country
at the heart of the Middle East. Western allies are keeping a close eye on
Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel and controls the Suez Canal, a
vital global trade route.
Authorities make no distinction between the Brotherhood,
which is now outlawed in Egypt, and al-Qaeda-inspired militants in the Sinai Peninsula
who have dramatically stepped up attacks on security forces since Morsi’s
The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful group, and that the
government makes allegations against it to justify a crackdown that has killed
hundreds. More than 2 000 Brotherhood supporters have also been arrested,
including Morsi and other top leaders.
Military and security officials say the Brotherhood's real
intention was to establish a single Islamic nation across several countries,
and that Egypt's national interests were not its priority - allegations it
Fears are growing that an Islamist insurgency could take
hold beyond the Sinai and across Egypt. A Sinai-based group claimed
responsibility for a failed suicide bombing that targeted Egypt's interior
minister in Cairo in September.
There have been several attacks on policemen in the capital.
In order to counter what it says is a rising threat from
terrorism, Egypt has imposed a state of emergency and an overnight curfew.