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Egyptian police detain relatives of group's leaders

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:51 p.m.

CAIRO — Egyptian authorities detained more than 60 people associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in less than 24 hours, including relatives of the group's leaders, officials said on Wednesday.

The crackdown on the group, from which ousted President Mohamed Morsy hails, started shortly after the July 3 coup. It intensified this month after security forces cleared out two of the group's sit-ins, killing hundreds and sparking unrest that killed more than 1,000 people in a few days. The Interior Ministry says more than 100 policemen and soldiers have also been killed since mid-August.

The local media, in close step with the new leadership after Morsy, repeatedly describe the actions of the Brotherhood and its supporters as acts of terrorism. Many have been charged with inciting violence. Security forces have arrested much of the Brotherhood's senior and midlevel leadership, while others remain in hiding.

Some in Egypt fear the Brotherhood's once powerful political party and its allies could be barred from politics and be forced underground again.

In an interview with the Arabic satellite channel MBC Misr, interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said dissolving the group is not a solution and warned against taking dramatic decisions during turbulent times. He suggested it is better that the government monitor political parties rather than force any to operate secretly, as the group had done for decades.

But in a widening campaign, police have started going after members' relatives, including the son of Khairat el-Shater, a Brotherhood deputy and financier charged in relation to the killings of protesters outside the group's headquarters in June.

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