Following the arrest of its Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie on Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood has announced that the Deputy Supreme Guide, Mahmoud Ezzat, will take the role of spiritual leader temporarily.
Badie was arrested shortly after midnight in Cairo’s Nasr City amid a broad crackdown by Egypt’s army-backed government on the Islamist group and its followers, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails.
The announcement that Ezzat would temporarily take on the role of spiritual leader was made on the website of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
Ezzat, 69, has been among the Brotherhood ranks since the 1960s and was named a member of the group’s Guidance Bureau, or its executive board, in 1981. He has previously been detained for several years for his activism and affiliation to the group.
Badie, the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, was the latest of its senior leaders to be detained by security forces.
Brotherhood deputy leader Khairat El-Shater, former supreme guide Mahdi Akef, and head of the group’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Saad El-Katatni, are also in prison. Morsi himself has been detained by the military since his ouster on 3 July.
Six Brotherhood leaders, including El-Shater and Badie, are facing trial on charges of inciting the murder of protesters at the group’s headquarters in the Cairo district of Moqattam in June.
Egypt’s interim government said this week that it had arrested more than 1,000 “elements” of the Muslim Brotherhood, against the backdrop of recent demonstrations which turned to violence in several parts of the country.
Tensions have been running high in Egypt since police stormed two protest camps by Morsi loyalists last week, leaving hundreds dead and thousands injured.