Egypt’s Supreme State Security Prosecution has ordered the detention of 30 people for 15 days pending investigations into the failed assassination attempts on the country’s former top Muslim cleric Ali Gomaa and deputy prosecutor-general Zakareya Abdel-Aziz.
"The investigations have revealed that the defendants were members of the Muslim Brotherhood group who formed terrorist cells that aim to conduct terrorist operations and assassinations under orders from the group’s fugitive [leaders]," the prosecution said in a Sunday statement.
The statement added that the defendants, who were arrested Friday, planned to assassinate several public figures and target vital state institutions.
The prosecution charged the defendants with "forming a terrorist organisation that aims to overthrow the government as well as launching attacks against state institutions, public figures and police and army forces."
Other charges include the possession of firearms and explosive devices.
The interior ministry published a video on its official Facebook page showing the defendants confessing to “plotting terrorist attacks against security forces and government figures.”
In a Friday statement, the interior ministry said its intelligence work revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood is forming new “terrorist entities” such as Haraket Thowar Misr, Hasm and Lowaa El-Thawra, and uses these groups “as a media front” to take the blame for the Brotherhood’s violent attacks.
The little-known new militant group Hasm has claimed responsibility for the attacks against Gomaa and Abdel-Aziz.
The ministry said it also found documents showing Brotherhood leaders admitting they were behind the assassination of Egypt’s top prosecutor Hisham Barakat in June 2015.
The Muslim Brotherhood was officially designated a terrorist organisation by the government in December 2013 following several deadly attacks on security personnel, to which the Brotherhood denied responsibility.
Attacks against Egypt's security forces have become common in recent years but are almost entirely concentrated in North Sinai, where Egypt's army and police are battling an entrenched Islamist insurgency.