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Egypt arrests Salafist leaders over protest call

Egyptian security forces have arrested five Salafist leaders after their hardline Islamist group called for a protest against the army later this week, authorities said on Monday.

AFP| Updated: Nov 25, 2014, 02:39 AM IST

Cairo: Egyptian security forces have arrested five Salafist leaders after their hardline Islamist group called for a protest against the army later this week, authorities said on Monday.

"Five elements of a terrorist group have been arrested at home in Madinat Nasr," a suburb in northeastern Cairo, the interior ministry said on its Facebook page.

They were "leaders of sedition and planned acts of sedition, anarchy and violence on Friday," the day of their intended protest, the statement added.

The Salafi Front group confirmed on its Facebook page that five of its leaders had been arrested, but kept up its call for a protest.

It has been urging people to take to the streets to mark the third anniversary of protests against the army and security forces in which around 40 people were killed over several days.

The purpose of the demonstration was to "proclaim the Islamic identity of Egypt, to oppose the Western and Zionist domination and overthrow the military regime," the Front said on Monday.

The blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood has thrown its weight behind the planned demonstration but has refused to say whether or not it will take part.

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt`s first freely elected president who hails from the Brotherhood, was toppled last year by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Supporters of Morsi and the Brotherhood have staged regular protests, but their ability to garner large numbers has dwindled amid a government crackdown that has killed hundreds and jailed thousands.