Egypt hikes assault on Muslim Brotherhood


CAIRO — Egypt’s security authorities launched a sweep of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members Thursday and warned having a leadership post in the group could now be grounds for the death penalty after it was officially declared a terrorist organization, stepping up the government’s confrontation with its top political nemesis.

The announcement came as a bomb exploded in a busy intersection in Cairo Thursday morning, hitting a bus and wounding five people. Though small, the blast raised fears that a campaign of violence by Islamic militants that for months targeted police and the military could turn to civilians in retaliation for the stepped up crackdown.

The terrorist labeling of the Brotherhood — an unprecedented step even during past decades when the group was banned — takes to a new level the government’s moves to crush the group, which rode on elections to dominate Egypt’s politics the past three years until the military removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July after massive protests against him.

 

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