Ismailiya was the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood and its founder Hassan al-Banna, who mounted a series of attacks against the British and an economic boycott in the Canal Zone. The British suspected that the Islamist group was being aided by elements in the Egyptian police, and on January 25, 1952, tried to disarm Ismailiya’s main barracks. Fifty officers were subsequently killed, sparking rioting in Cairo the following day, which became known as “Black Saturday”. The Brotherhood was subsequently banned in 1954 but continued to operate and expand underground, putting up independent candidates for election. After the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the organization was legalized and its influence has continued to grow, with its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, triumphing in the June 2012 presidential elections.

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