The Egyptian state prosecutor ordered that ousted Islamist President Mohammad Mursi be detained for 15 days for questioning on charges of collaborating with Palestinian militant group Hamas, official MENA news agency reported on Friday.
Mursi will be asked on whether he worked with Hamas in attacks on police stations and prison breaks in early 2011, during which the Islamist and other political inmates escaped during the revolt against strongman Hosni Mubarak, it added.
However, the news agency reported that the prosecutor has already questioned the ousted president and "confronted him with the evidence."
State accusations against Mursi include killing prisoners and officers as well as kidnapping soldiers, said MENA.
The case concerns the mass jailbreak of dozens of Brotherhood officials during the uprising that toppled Mursi's predecessor, Mubarak. There have been many reports in Egyptian media that the Brotherhood collaborated with Hamas -- which has condemned Egypt's decision to detain Mursi.
Muslim Brotherhood officials have said they were aided by local residents in breaking out of prison, not foreigners.
The report came just hours before people were expected to take to the streets in mass rallies for and against the ousted president. Egypt's army has been holding Mursi in an undisclosed location since deposing him on July 3.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood – from which Mursi hails – said that the detention of the ousted president signals the return of the Mubarak regime.
"The accusations read as if they're a retaliation from the old regime, signalling 'We're back in full force," Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad told AFP.
Meanwhile, Hamas denounced on Friday Egypt over Mursi’s detention.
“Hamas condemns this move since it is based on the premise that the Hamas movement is hostile,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
“This is a dangerous development, which confirms that the current powers in Egypt are giving up on national causes and even using these issues to deal with other parties -- first among them the Palestinian cause.”
Accusations against Mursi happened before supporters and opponents of the Islamist ousted leader prepare for rival rallies.
A few hundred pro-army supporters gathered early Friday morning in Tahrir Square, center of two years of turmoil in Egypt, before the main rally which might not peak until after the evening prayer marking the end of the day’s Ramadan fast, Reuters reported.
“The people, the army and the police are one hand,” shouted a policeman, leading a group of chanters.
Armored personnel carriers guarded every entrance to the square.
The Brotherhood, which has manned a street vigil for almost a month with thousands of followers demanding Mursi’s return,h as called for its own counter-demonstrations.
Clashes break between rivals
Egypt’s health ministry said at least six people were injured after clashes between Mursi supporters and opponents in the governorate of Damietta while at least 10 people were wounded in the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra, Al Arabiya correspondent reported Friday
Witnesses told AFP that the Shubra clashes erupted early in the afternoon. Live footage on satellite station ONTV showed crowds throwing rocks at each other in the neighborhood.
Mursi’s supporters and backers of the military that overthrew him on July 3 are both staging rival rallies across Egypt.
Witnesses said the clashes in Cairo began after Mursi’s opponents, who rallied at the behest of the military, burned posters of the ousted Islamist leader.
(With AFP, AP, Reuters)