Source AP ©

Egyptian authorities release two Muslim Brotherhood lawmakers

Egyptian authorities released two Muslim Brotherhood lawmakers but ordered 12 other members of the country's most powerful opposition group detained.

The two parliament members, Sabri Amer and Ragab Abu Zeid, were not questioned by prosecutors before they were released, police said. They, along with the 12 other members, were arrested Sunday in the northern Nile Delta province of Menoufiya.

The other 12 members on Monday were ordered detained for 15 days, according to police and the Brotherhood's Web site.

The Brotherhood has been banned since 1954 but has continued to operate and has become the country's largest opposition group. Its lawmakers, who run as independents, hold 88 seats in the 454-seat parliament.

In recent months, the Egyptian government has intensified its crackdown on the Brotherhood, arresting more than 300 members since December. A military trial of 40 top figures from the group on terrorism and money laundering charges began last week under heavy secrecy.

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