Egypt beefs up security ahead of anti-government Cairo rally

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.