A leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Ezzat, has been arrested by Egyptian authorities after a raid on an apartment in Cairo.
Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed in Egypt.
Ezzat, an influential former deputy to Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, became acting leader after Badie’s arrest in August 2013.
Despite misleading information regarding his whereabouts, security services were able to locate Ezzat, 76, who is also the head of the Brotherhood’s international arm.
The raid took place with a warrant granted by the Supreme State Security Prosecution.
A statement from the country’s ministry of interior said Ezzat was arrested in a flat used as a hide-out in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement district. He is accused of charges ranging from joining and leading a terrorist group to receiving illicit funds.
The ministry said encrypted communications equipments were seized during the arrests. Ezzat is also suspected of overseeing several assassinations and attempted assassinations as well as a bombing from 2013.
Ezzat had previously been sentenced to death and to life in prison in absentia. According to Egyptian law, he will face retrials in the cases following his arrest.
A picture distributed by the interior ministry and published by Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm al-Sabaa showed a gaunt and frail-looking Ezzat wearing a striped T-shirt.
He was apprehended in a residential area east of the capital, despite incessant rumours circulated by officials of the Brotherhood about his presence abroad, the ministry said.
Other senior members of the group have left the country, and many now live in Turkey.
In August 2017, a criminal court in Cairo accused Ezzat of planning attacks within Egypt from abroad and added his name to the country’s national terror list.
The statement by the ministry read that operations supervised by Ezzat include the assassination of former general prosecutor Hisham Barakat in 2015, policeman Wael Tahoun in 2015, top-ranked army officer Adel Ragei in 2016, and the attempted assassination of the general prosecutor’s former aide Zakaria Abdel-Azim in 2016.
It also charged him with supervising a deadly car blast outside the capital’s main cancer hospital in August 2019 killing 20 people.
He also received two verdicts of death in the cases of spying for Hamas and Wadi al-Natroun Prison Break.