Muslim Brotherhood leader arrested — as Hosni Mubarak ordered released

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on a stretcher inside a Cairo court room in June 2012. EPA, file

CAIRO — The “Supreme Guide” of the Muslim Brotherhood, the political group aligned with deposed President Mohammed Morsi, was arrested early Tuesday, according to state television. 

Mohamed Badie reportedly was captured in an apartment in the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City, where supporters of Morsi had held a six-week sit-in protest that was cleared by security officials last Wednesday.

A post on an English-language Twitter account associated with the Brotherhood said: “Muslim Brotherhood confirms its Chairman, Dr. Mohamed Badie, has been arrested by #Egypt fascist military regime."

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie. Gianluigi Guercia / AFP - Getty Images, file

Badie had already been charged with inciting violence and faces a trial slated to begin Aug. 25.

Badie’s son, Ammar, 38, was shot dead Friday during protests near the al-Fath mosque in Ramses Square, according to the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

Meanwhile, a court has ordered the release of Egypt’s imprisoned ex-president Hosni Mubarak after prosecutors cleared him in a corruption case, but it remained unclear if or when the deposed leader would be set free.

The former authoritarian leader, who ruled Egypt for three decades, has already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for complicity in the murder of protesters in the 2011 uprising that led to his overthrow. He has secured a retrial over that conviction, but that would not require him to stay in jail. The only legal grounds for the 85-year-old's continued detention rest on another corruption case which his lawyers said they expected to be settled swiftly.

In the next few days, Mubarak's legal team will be submitting a request for his discharge from Tora prison outside Cairo on the basis that he is being unjustly held after having already served more than two years.

“He will be released very soon, God willing,” said Yousri Abdul Razak, one of Mubarak’s lawyers. According to a judicial source, the former leader would spend another two weeks behind bars before authorities made a final decision on his release.

In Egypt, 'we have lost the joy of life' 2:44

News of Mubarak’s future came as the country reeled from bloody conflict that has killed more than 800 people -- mostly civilians -- since Wednesday, when the army stormed Cairo encampments set up by supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, who succeeded Mubarak in 2012.

In the United States, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called for an end to the violence, reiterating an earlier call from President Obama. 

“As President Obama said last week, the violence must end,” Hagel said Monday, adding that the United States' role in Egypt's future is limited.

“Our ability to influence the outcome in Egypt is limited.”

Nevertheless, no decision has been made on withholding U.S. aid to Egypt. 

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said a “review is ongoing” of U.S. aid, in “light of actions taken by the interim Egyptian government.” 

Officials said the number of security personnel killed in the country since Wednesday has reached 102, with 686 injured.

Earlier Monday, masked gunmen attacked minibuses carrying Egyptian police officers on Monday, fatally shooting 25 of them, according to a security source and the country’s interim government. 

"At 9:30 a.m, 28 police conscripts in two civilian minibuses on their way back from vacation were traveling to Rafah and were attacked by masked armed gunmen who ordered them down and opened fire with machine guns, killing 25 and critically wounding three who are now in hospital," the security source said. 

The Associated Press reported that the policemen were not in their uniforms when they were killed. The attack occurred near the north Sinai town of Rafah, which is close to the border with Israel.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, condemned the attack.

"The Secretary-General expresses the hope that the perpetrators will be swiftly identified and brought to justice," read a statement released Monday.

Attacks by Islamist militants in the lawless north Sinai region have intensified since the army overthrew Morsi on July 3. The military has imposed a state of emergency amid the nationwide unrest that followed Morsi's ouster and parts of the country have been placed under a nighttime curfew. 

Morsi, like Mubarak, is now being held in a prison. The interim government accuses him of colluding with Palestinian militant group, Hamas. 

Monday's violence came a day after 38 pro-Morsi prisoners were killed during a prison transfer near Cairo, according to a protest organization led by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The State Department voiced its concern about the deaths, deeming them "suspicious," and made clear that it does not believe the Muslim Brotherhood should be banned. 

"We are ... deeply troubled by the suspicious deaths of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in a purported prison escape attempt near Cairo," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

Also, the Egyptian military admitted Monday that it had killed one journalist and wounded another at a military checkpoint in Damanhour in the Governate of Beheir, near Alexandria, according to a statement.

The two journalists were driving towards a checkpoint but failed to heed warnings to slow down or stop, and later ignored warning shots, the statement said. 

The military then engaged the vehicle with gunshots, killing the driver, Tareq Abdul Raouf, a reporter with the state-run newspaper Al Ahram. That forced the vehicle to swerve and ram into a light pole, injuring a second passenger, Hamed Fathy El Berbery, a reporter with the state-run newspaper Al Gomhouria, according to the military.

F. Brinley Bruton of NBC News, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.