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Egypt's military arrests Brotherhood chief in day of further turmoil

By Alastair Beach

Fresh from toppling the country's first democratically elected leader, Egypt's military risked further outrage from the Muslim Brotherhood yesterday by arresting the group's supreme guide.

Mohammed Badie, the Brotherhood's spiritual leader, was arrested at an acquaintance's villa in Mersa Matruh in north-west Egypt. He was then flown to Cairo on a military helicopter, according to security officials.

"This is even worse than it was for us under Hosni Mubarak," said leading Brotherhood official Amr Darrag.

The development came as the military oversaw the swearing-in of Egypt's interim president just 24 hours after it toppled Mohamed Morsi.

Former judge Adli Mansour will preside over a provisional government until elections are held, although no date has yet been set.

Mr Mansour had been one of the candidates put forward by the opposition groups that spearheaded this week's insurrection against Mr Morsi.

In a ceremony aired live on State television, Mr Mansour said that there would be "no exclusion of anyone" under his rule. As news spread of the anti-Islamist crackdown, he offered an olive branch to the Muslim Brotherhood and said he wanted them integrated into the nation.

The prospect of compromise was scotched by the Brotherhood. "We declare our complete rejection of the military coup staged against the elected president and the will of the nation," it said in a statement.

Mr Badie's arrest was part of a wider crackdown against the Brotherhood that saw the authorities issue a wanted list for 200 of its members.

The crackdown came after authorities moved to silence the Islamist media in the wake of Wednesday's military coup by closing down organisation with links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

After the general's address, clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi factions across Egypt left 10 people dead and more than 400 injured.

Mr Badie's arrest was part of a wider crackdown against the Brotherhood that saw the authorities issue a wanted list for 200 of its members.

PROFILE

General Fattah al-Sisi led the coup. He was appointed commander of Egypt's army after President Morsi's election victory last year. Initially, he was described as being sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. However, he also sees himself as a nationalist and his loyalties now lie with the protesters.

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