Safwat Hegazy, a fiery Salafi preacher, was arrested on Libyan border, while Mourad Ali, a spokesman for the Brotherhood's political wing, was detained at the Cairo airport, trying to catch a flight to Italy, Egypt's state-run news agency reported on Wednesday. Hegazy is wanted over charges of instigating violence. (Agencies)
The arrests come a day after Mohammed Badie, 70, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested in an apartment close to Rabia al-Adawiya square, where Islamist supporters of Morsi held a vigil before it was cleared in a bloody crackdown by security forces last week.
They were among about 100 members of the Muslim Brotherhood taken into custody yesterday. The brotherhood, locked in a deadly battle with the military for control of Egypt, slammed the interim government's ongoing "bloody military coup."
In a statement, the group's Freedom and Justice Party described the charges against Badie as "trumped up" and "political."
"It is well-known that all the charges brought against the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated political party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as well as the leaders of the Anti-Coup, Pro-Democracy National Alliance are implausible fabricated charges with no legally acceptable evidence," the statement said.
"What they are facing are nothing but political trumped up charges thinly painted with criminal colours," Ali Kamal, a lawyer for the Brotherhood, said in the statement. The court will convene at Tora prison in Cairo where the ousted leader is being held, judicial sources said.
Arresting Badie "is not the end of the group, which will remain in the hearts of millions of Egyptians," said Ahmed Arif, spokesman for the Brotherhood. Badie will be detained for 15 days for investigation on accusations of inciting violence and killing protesters, the Ministry of Interior said. The detention could be extended, as has been done with Morsi.
Mahmoud Ezzat, Badie's deputy, was named supreme guide on a temporary basis. A state of emergency is in force amid a crackdown on Islamists opposed to the army's ousting of Morsi on July 3 with almost 900 people killed in the violence.
The military has arrested hundreds of members of Muslim Brotherhood, including Mohamed Mahdi Akef, the former supreme guide, his deputy, Khairat al-Shater; Saad al-Katatni, chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, his deputy, Rashad al-Bayoumi and Sheikh Hazem Salah Abo Ismael.
Badie was with Syed Abdul Rahim Abdel Naby, a teacher from the Islamic Dawa school in Beni Suef, when he was arrested at dawn, the Ministry of Interior said in its statement. Security forces then searched the school and arrested 38 members of the Muslim Brotherhood "who were hiding" in the facility and had numerous weapons, including a rifle, pistols, and Molotov cocktails, the statement said.
Some of the equipment belonged to the administration of the civil protection unit in Beni Suef, which had been stormed, robbed and set on fire, the statement said. Both sides in the conflict have insisted they reject violence, but fighting has raged.
The Muslim Brotherhood changed its profile image on Facebook on Tuesday to an image of Badie, with a quote saying, "Our peaceful movement is mightier than their tanks." Security forces also arrested 56 administrative leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in various provinces, the Ministry of Interior said.
Violence has continued unabated in the deeply polarized nation with at least 25 policemen killed on Monday when militants ambushed them in the border city of Rafah, in the deadliest attack in years described by the government as a plot to "destabilise Egypt and terrify citizens".
The brazen attack came hours after the army-back interim government said 36 Muslim Brotherhood members died during a botched prison breakout near Cairo, but the Islamist party offered a different version, saying its was a "cold-blooded" murder by the security forces.
Safwat Hegazy, a fiery Salafi preacher, was arrested on Libyan border, while Mourad Ali, a spokesman for the Brotherhood's political wing, was detained at the Cairo airport, trying to catch a flight to Italy, Egypt's state-run news agency reported on Wednesday. Hegazy is wanted over charges of instigating violence.