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The Battle for Egypt

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Brother of al-Qaeda chief Al-Zawahri Nabbed by Egyptian Cops

August 18th 2013

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Egyptian police officers on Saturday arrested the brother of al-Qaeda's top leader Ayman al-Zawahri (also spelled Zawahiri). Mohammed al-Zawahri, the head of the radical Muslim group the Salafists, was apprehended by the Egyptian police at a security checkpoint in the city of Giza, which has been the scene of sectarian strife in the aftermath of the military's ouster of the Muslim Brother-Morsi government.

Mohammed al-Zawahri's organization is considered more radical than most of the hard-line Islamists. Besides Egypt, the Salafists have perpetrated terrorist attacks in the Palestinian territory in Gaza against Israel, according to Asher.

Mohammed al-Zawahri and his group are allies of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist, for whom supporters have created an uprising against the government officials installed by the Egyptian military, according to Philip Graham, a former anti-terrorism task force member in the U.S.

Before the uprising, al-Zawahri was leading a band of insurgents in Sinai Peninsula against Israel and Israeli interests in the region, Graham said. He and his Salafists also executed an Italian jihadist who came to Gaza to fight the Israelis, according to Graham. Street fighting in Cairo and other clashes across the country left another 175 Egyptians dead and about a thousand wounded on Friday, according to the Middle East news media. An Islamist coalition -- led by Muslim Brotherhood leaders -- continues to lead violent and destructive protests and they claim they will not stop until government installed by the military is eliminated and Morsi and his staff return as the duly elected government, said Mordacai Asher. The violence between the protesters and the Egyptian police officers continued on Saturday including an attack on a Cairo mosque -- in which hundreds of Morsi's supporters barricaded themselves -- by the police officers that shocked the Muslim world.

Egyptian government officials installed as the nation's temporary leaders gave police officers permission on Thursday to use deadly physical force to defend themselves and protect government facilities from attacks by Muslim Brotherhood members and other supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, in a recent statement, had urged Muslims terrorists to fight back against what he called "crusader invaders," including the Yemen, Kenyan and Nigerian military forces assisting the anti-Islamist security forces in Middle Eastern and African nations.

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