Egypt arrests 40 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood
(dpa) - Egyptian authorities on Tuesday arrested 40 members of the banned opposition group Muslim Brotherhood in a series of raids around the country, security sources said.
The members were arrested at their homes in Alexandria, Fayoum and Qena, on charges of belonging to an outlawed group, opposing the government and distributing religious leaflets, according to the sources.
The government recently stepped up its crackdown on the group ahead of local elections due to take place on April 8. The arrests brings to more than 195 the number of Muslim Brotherhood members detained since February.
The group has been banned since 1954 but has re-emerged in the past 30 years as Egypt's strongest and best-organized opposition political movement.
The self-styled opposition group, which seeks an enforcement of the Islamic or Sharia law as opposed to the prevalent mix of secular and religious law, occupies one fifth of seats in parliament. Its members were elected to parliament as independents.