Cairo, Egypt (CNN) – A day after deposing the nation’s first democratically elected president, Egypt’s security forces on Thursday moved to arrest leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood that had supported his rule and to silence their communications outlets.
Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad told CNN the ousted president, Mohamed Morsy, was under house arrest at the presidential Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo; the military has not commented on Morsy’s whereabouts.
Morsy has refused an offer by the armed forces to leave Egypt for Qatar, Turkey or Yemen, the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported Thursday. The report said that he wouldn’t step down voluntarily and that his speech Wednesday — before his ouster — represented a “flagrant challenge to its authority” and a “declaration of confrontation with it.”
In an interview in Cairo, El-Haddad cited the arrests as “very, very questionable attempts by the military to dismantle the Brotherhood.”
He added, “This is a military coup that’s establishing an oppressive new regime under the whitewashed face of the old regime.”
The military should not take political sides, he said, adding that he had had no direct communications with Morsy. “But there are sympathizers inside the military who are giving us pieces of information, primarily to other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, that have relayed it to me.”
The former chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahdi Aakef, and his bodyguards were arrested Thursday in Cairo with four weapons in their possession, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency, which cited security sources.
And Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader Mohamed Badei and the former supreme leader Mohamed Mahdi Akef have been arrested, Egyptian state broadcaster Nile TV said Thursday.
Arrest warrants have been issued for Badei’s deputy, Khairat el-Shater, and other Brotherhead leaders on charges of inciting the killing of peaceful protesters in front of Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo’s Moqattam neighborhood.
Police are seeking another 300 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
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