RELIGION

Egypt beefs up security ahead of anti-government Cairo rally

  • Egyptians shout slogans against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during a protest against the decision to hand over control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Press Syndicate, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 15, 2016. Arabic reads, "Awad sold his land" and "Egypt is not for sale." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Egyptians shout slogans against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during a protest against the decision to hand over control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Press Syndicate, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 15, 2016. Arabic reads, "Awad sold his land" and "Egypt is not for sale." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptians shout slogans against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during a protest against the decision to hand over control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Press Syndicate, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 15, 2016. Arabic reads, "Awad sold his land" and  "Red Sea islands Sanafir and Tiran are Egyptian." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Egyptians shout slogans against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during a protest against the decision to hand over control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Press Syndicate, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 15, 2016. Arabic reads, "Awad sold his land" and "Red Sea islands Sanafir and Tiran are Egyptian." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptians shout slogans against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during a protest against the decision to hand over control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Press Syndicate, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 15, 2016. Graffiti on the walls at background showing from left Tamer Abdel Raouf, Mayada Ashraf and Al-Housseiny Abu Daif, journalists were killed during and following 2011 uprising. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Egyptians shout slogans against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during a protest against the decision to hand over control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Press Syndicate, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 15, 2016. Graffiti on the walls at background showing from left Tamer Abdel Raouf, Mayada Ashraf and Al-Housseiny Abu Daif, journalists were killed during and following 2011 uprising. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

Egypt's Interior Ministry has beefed up security ahead of a planned anti-government rally in Cairo against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's announcement to hand two Red Sea islands back to Saudi Arabia.

The state MENA news agency quotes an unnamed ministry official as saying police are "encircling" all the strategic routes into the country's capital on Friday.

The official says heavy security measures include checkpoints erected at Cairo entrances and exits to prevent "infiltration of the terrorist group" bent on causing chaos and clashes — a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

The Islamist group, which has been declared a terrorist organization, has joined calls by secular and leftists groups — much to their dismay — for a mass demonstration in Cairo's central Tahrir Square over the islands issue.