CAIRO – Egyptian police arrested the main English-language spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday along with other senior members of the group, all charged with inciting violence, state media and a security official said.
Gehad el-Haddad had appeared regularly in foreign media and became one of the group's most well-known faces. He is the son of Essam el-Haddad, a senior foreign policy aide to Egypt's former Islamist president who was ousted in a July 3 military coup.
El-Haddad, the father, has been held in an undisclosed military facility with Mohammed Morsi since the coup. Morsi, Egypt's first elected president, was overthrown after four days of massive street protests demanding his resignation.
Gehad el-Haddad was one of the Brotherhood's prolific spokesmen, defending its policies both before and after Morsi's ouster and speaking regularly on international news channels from inside a massive sit-in protesting the coup in Cairo.
After the army violently broke up the sit-in on Aug. 14, El-Haddad continued to criticize the coup and heavy-handed police crackdown that left more than 1,000 dead -- mostly Morsi supporters -- over several days. He spoke with media from hiding and continued to post on social media.
El-Haddad was one of the group's hard-line voices, refusing any negotiations with the new authorities. Police arrested him with three other Brotherhood members, including a former lawmaker, in an apartment in the Cairo suburb where the sit-in had been held, the security official said. They are detained on charges of inciting violence. The official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to brief reporters, said many documents were seized with el-Haddad and are currently being investigated.
In recent days, it had become more difficult reaching el-Haddad, and email was his preferred mode of communication.
The official said two other senior members of the Brotherhood, including a former provincial governor, were arrested in another apartment in the same neighborhood. The official said the ex-governor and other member are also accused of inciting violence.
Security officials say hundreds of Brotherhood members have been arrested over the past month and estimate more than 2,000 are being held pending prosecution.
Since Morsi's ouster, violence against security and government buildings in Cairo, the country's south and the restive northern Sinai region has spiked. Authorities blame it on the Brotherhood and Morsi's supporters, saying they are seeking to destabilize the new government. The Brotherhood denies the charges.