CAIRO: Egyptian police raided a Cairo study center connected with the opposition Muslim Brotherhood and arrested nine leading members of the Islamist group, police and the Brotherhood said on Monday.
After giving the Brotherhood a margin of freedom last year, Egyptian authorities have started to crack down on the movement, calling it a secret organization despite the presence of 88 of its members in the 454-seat lower house of parliament.
The raid on Sunday evening was at the Umma Studies Centre in the Manyal quarter of the capital. It is run by Mohammed Mursi, a member of the Brotherhood s small Guidance Office, which acts as the group s executive committee.
An Interior Ministry statement said the people arrested were attending a secret organizational meeting of Brotherhood cadres. Police took publications, documents and computers from the center, the statement added.
The prosecutor general ordered the nine men held for questioning for 15 days, judicial sources said.
The Brotherhood s Web site said: This escalation comes against the background of the widespread detentions among the Brotherhood by the security forces during the Egyptian uprising to support the judges in their position towards the government.
The Brotherhood helped to organize street protests in May in solidarity with two judges who faced disciplinary proceedings for speaking about allegations of vote rigging last year.
Police organized plainclothes security men to attack and beat up the demonstrators. Dozens were detained.
Several leading members suspected of organizing the protests, including political department head Essam Al-Arian, are still in detention.