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Crackdown On Muslim Brotherhood Escalates As Egypt Designate Group As A Terrorist Organisation

posted 26 Dec 2013, 05:01 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 26 Dec 2013, 05:02 ]

The Egyptian government intensifies its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, formally listing the group as a terrorist organisation after accusing it of carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a police station.

CAIRO, EGYPT  (REUTERS) -  The Egyptian government intensified its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhoodon Wednesday (December 25), formally listing the group as a terrorist organisation after accusing it of carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a police station in Mansoura that killed 16 people and injured over 100 people.

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The move marked a major escalation in the army-backed government's campaign to suppress the Islamist movement that propelled Mohamed Mursi to the presidency 18 months ago but has been driven underground since the army toppled him in July.

It gives the authorities the power to charge any member of the Brotherhood with belonging to a terrorist group, as well as anyone who finances the group or promotes it "verbally, or in writing".

The Brotherhood, which estimates its membership at up to a million people, wasEgypt's best organised political force until this summer's crackdown. A political and social movement founded in 1928, it won five elections after the downfall of PresidentHosni Mubarak in 2011.

Since Mursi's overthrow, the state has killed hundreds of his supporters in the streets and arrested thousands more. At least 350 members of the security forces have been killed in bombings and shootings and the government has declared itself in "a war on terror".

Mursi and other top Brotherhood leaders were last week charged with terrorism and plotting with foreign militants against Egypt.

They could face the death penalty.

The government did not say what evidence the government had to back up the accusation or name any suspects.

The Brotherhood condemned the Mansoura bomb attack, responsibility for which was claimed by a hardline militant group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis or "Supporters ofJerusalem".

The Brotherhood says it remains committed to peacefully resisting what it calls a bloody military coup against a freely elected leader. Its supporters are pressing a campaign of protest focused on university campuses.

The group has been outlawed for most of its existence but this marks the first time the group has been formally designated a terrorist movement.