Prosecutors accuse Brotherhood of setting up military wing

Ahram Online , Sunday 9 Feb 2014

First direct accusation that the Muslim Brotherhood is responsible for deadly militant attack, in which five security personnel were killed in Beni Suef

In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 file photo, Egyptians pray during the funeral of five policemen killed after masked gunmen opened fire at a police checkpoint in el-Wassta district in the province of Beni Suef, south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, Egypt, (Photo: AP).

Egypt's state security prosecutors have ordered the detention of 12 suspects it accuses of forming a military wing of the Brotherhood in Upper Egypt's Beni Suef and then carrying out an attack that killed five police officers in January. 

The Interior Ministry had announced earlier on Sunday that a Brotherhood member in Beni Suef was ordered by the group to form an armed "wing" tasked with targeting police, army facilities and personnel.

The Brotherhood has faced a crackdown by security forces since the ouster of Brotherhood-affiliated president Mohamed Morsi in July.

The Brotherhood was designated a terrorist group in December, one day after a bombing on a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura that killed over a dozen people. Shortly afterwards the bombing was claimed by a Sinai-based militant group, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. The Brotherhood has consistently condemned the use of violence and insisted that its members only protest peacefully.

Prior to the designation, the government accused the group of carrying out a "terrorist plot" against the Egyptian state.

However, the accusations on Sunday are the first to directly implicate the Brotherhood in carrying out an attack.

Dozens of police officers and security personnel have been killed in routine attacks by militants since the violent dispersal of the Brotherhood's main Cairo sit-in by security forces in August.

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