Egyptian officials say a senior Islamist leader detained over alleged links to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group has been referred to state security prosecutors for questioning.

They say five associates of Abdel-Monaem Abul Fetouh were released from detention early on Thursday, just hours after they were detained.

The officials say prosecutors have documents and video recordings that allegedly show that Abul Fetouh has been in contact with Brotherhood leaders in exile.

Abul Fetouh was arrested late on Wednesday at his Cairo home, according to the officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Abul Fetouh was a longtime Brotherhood member, but quit the group in 2011 to run for president in the 2012 election won by Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood.