An Egyptian court on Sunday said Muslim Brotherhood members conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and local militants to storm a prison in 2011 and free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including the future President Mohammed Morsi.
The court statement read by judge Khaled Mahgoub named two members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood - Ibrahim Haggag and Sayed Ayad - to be among the alleged conspirators in the attack on Wadi el-Natroun prison on Jan. 29, 2011.
It is the first statement by a court that holds members of the three Islamist groups - the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah - responsible for a series of jailbreaks during the chaos of Egypt’s 2011 uprising. Two other prisons in which Hamas and Hezbollah members were held were also attacked.
Malian soldiers have fired on Islamist fighters in the centre of the country, military sources say.
Details remain sketchy but some sources say the Islamists, who last year seized a vast area of the north, have advanced towards Mopti - the last town under government control.
The army responded with “warning shots”, military sources say.
In December, the UN approved an African-led military operation against the Islamist groups.
Last week, one of the Islamist groups, Ansar Dine, said it was ending the ceasefire it had previously announced during talks with mediators.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s decision this week to make himself above the rule of law has put the Obama administration in a tight spot.
Mr. Morsi, who has links to Islamist groups looked upon with suspicion by the West, was never Washington’s first choice to lead a post-Arab Spring Egypt. But President Obama made a clear choice to allow the Egyptian people to chart their own course, thinking that interference would only undermine the goal of a truly democratic Egypt.
Now, it seems, that choice could potentially blow up in Mr. Obama’s face. A day after brokering a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, Morsi took a step that could make him as much of an autocrat as his US-friendly successor, Hosni Mubarak. The implication for US and the West seemed clear: peace with Israel, but at the price of Egyptian democracy.
France’s interior minister says some Islamist groups in France want to avenge the death of a Muslim radical, who the government says was responsible for the killing of seven people in a shooting spree in the country’s south.
Claude Gueant, speaking on French radio Europe 1 Friday, said that authorities have observed increased “desire” and “enthusiasm” among such groups to avenge the death of Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, killed in a standoff with police last month.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is facing a tough re-election in a presidential vote, with a first round April 22, has put security high on his agenda.
Gueant called on the people to be “vigilant and attentive.”
French security agencies are already on edge and have carried out sweeps, detaining 10 people from five cities Wednesday in the latest roundup. Four of them were released Thursday after questioning and a judicial official said that the other six would be released late Friday.