Police detained senior leaders of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group, in a series of pre-dawn raids on Monday, the group and police said.

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Egypt, but members running as independents won a fifth of seats in the 2005 parliamentary elections, making the group the legislative assembly’s largest opposition bloc.

Among those arrested early Monday morning were Mahmoud Ezzat, deputy supreme guide of the group, Essam al-Arian and Abdel-Rahman al-Ber, both members of the group’s executive council, police told DPA.

Police also raided the home of Mohi Hamid, another member of the group’s executive council, but he was not home at the time, and so avoided arrest, the banned group said on its website.

“Thirteen members were detained at a meeting of the group to develop plans for activities likely to disturb public security and create confusion on the Egyptian street,” a source in the Egyptian Interior Ministry told DPA, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Police regularly detain Brotherhood members, most often on charges of belonging to a banned organisation, but rarely detain senior leaders of the group.

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