Yesterday Egypt’s army-backed interim government launched military operations to seize a town which had been controlled for weeks by Islamist supporters of the country’s former president Mohammed Morsi. The Islamists had attacked Christian buildings immediately after Morsi’s ouster, and had subsequently harassed and attacked Christians in the town.
Today’s moves against the Muslim Brotherhood were quieter but in a sense broader. The government moved to extend a months-old asset freeze against top Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist leaders. The list of names reads like a who’s who of the Brotherhood’s organizational hierarchy:
Among those facing sanctions are Brotherhood general guide Mohammed Badie, his two deputies Khairat al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumi, as well as Salafist leader Hazem Abu Ismail and preacher Safwat Higazi. The five are currently detained, accused of inciting the murder of protesters opposed to ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi… Around 15 Islamist politicians have already had their assets frozen as part of the crackdown that has fractured the organisational structure of the Brotherhood.
Freezing Brotherhood assets could have cascade effects beyond Egypt’s borders. The group has over the years provided political and financial support to the Iran-backed Palestinian terror group Hamas. The Brotherhood’s decline in Egypt is one of the main dynamics driving Hamas’s precipitous decline in the Gaza Strip.
[Photo: ITN / YouTube]