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Egypt arrests al-Qaeda leader’s brother for ‘supporting Mursi’

Published: Updated:

Egyptian authorities have arrested Mohamed al-Zawahiri, brother of al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri, for supporting ousted Islamist president Mohammad Mursi, a security source told AFP news agency on Saturday.

The news was also reported by local Egyptian media.

The brother was arrested in his home district of Giza, adjacent to the capital, the source told AFP.

In the late 1990s, an Egyptian military court convicted Zawahiri on terrorism charges and sentenced him to death. Zawahiri spent 14 years in Egyptian jail on terrorism charges, including involvement with the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat in 1981. He has repeatedly denied such charges.

The sentence was revoked in June 2011, four months after a popular Egyptian revolt forced Hosni Mubarak to step down. He was released in March 2011, but later re-arrested. In March 2012 he was acquitted by a military court of all charges

In August, the al-Qaeda chief accused the U.S. of “plotting” with Egypt’s military, secularists and Christians to overthrow Mursi, in an audio recording posted on militant Islamist forums.

In his first public comment on the July 3 military overthrow of Mursi, the al-Qaeda chief, himself an Egyptian, said: “Crusaders and secularists and the Americanized army have converged ... with Gulf money and American plotting to topple Mohammad Morsi’s government.”

In the 15-minute recording, Zawahiri also accused Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority of supporting the Islamist president’s ouster to attain “a Coptic state stripped from Egypt’s south.”

Mohammed al-Zawahri’s was believed to be allied with Mursi, whose supporters are now taking to the streets to protest the killings of its supporters in a security crackdown last week.

(With AFP)