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Public prosecutor in Egypt has frozen the assets of 14 Islamist leaders, according to judicial sources.

The Muslim Brotherhood head Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat al-Shater are reported to be among them.

Mohammed Badie and other Muslim Brotherhood figures are already the subject of arrest warrants, while the ousted President Mohamed Morsi remains in custody.

On Sunday, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi defended the decision to remove him from power.

In a speech, he said he had urged the Islamist president to hold a referendum on his rule days before he was overthrown.

“The response was total rejection,” he added.

Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said no group would be barred from politics: “Every political force… must realize that an opportunity is available for everyone in political life and no ideological movement is prevented from participating.”

Mohammed Badie and other Muslim Brotherhood figures are already the subject of arrest warrants in Egypt

Mohammed Badie and other Muslim Brotherhood figures are already the subject of arrest warrants in Egypt

A temporary government is tasked with leading the country under an army-backed “road map” to restore civilian rule.

The decision by Egypt’s public prosecutor Hisham Barakat to freeze the assets of senior Islamists comes amid an ongoing investigation into deadly clashes that have happened since President Mohamed Morsi was ousted.

Dozens of people have died during major demonstrations by pro- and anti-Morsi protesters in the past two weeks.

According to Egypt’s state-run Channel 1 TV, the leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Mohammed Saad al-Katani has also been affected by the asset freeze, along with senior figures in rival Islamist groups.

In the meantime, Egypt’s new interim PM Hazem al-Beblawi has begun appointing people to senior cabinet posts.

Ahmed Galal, a liberal economist with a doctorate from Boston University, is to be finance minister. Nabil Fahmy, a former ambassador to the US, was named foreign minister.

Mohamed Morsi’s supporters, many of them members of the Muslim Brotherhood, have been staging a mass sit-in Cairo since their man was removed from power on July 3.

They are demanding his reinstatement as president and say the military’s removal of him amounted to a coup.

The army says it intervened to remove Mohamed Morsi in response to protests by millions of Egyptians who accused him of becoming increasingly authoritarian and failing to tackle economic difficulties.

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Egypt’s state prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant for Mohamed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and at least nine other senior figures.

Mohamed Badie is accused of inciting the violence in Cairo on Monday in which more than 50 people were killed.

Many Brotherhood members are already in detention and warrants are said to have been issued for hundreds more.

Meanwhile, a foreign ministry spokesman has said ousted President Mohamed Morsi is being held in a “safe place”.

Badr Abdul Atti told reporters he did not know where the 61 year old was, but that he was being treated in a “very dignified manner”.

“For his own safety and for the safety of the country, it is better to keep him in a safe place. Otherwise, the consequences will be dire,” he added.

Badr Abdul Atti is reported to have denied that Mohamed Morsi was being detained at the Presidential Guard barracks in Cairo, as many believe.

The Muslim Brotherhood, to which he belongs, says his ousting by the military a week ago amounted to a coup.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie is accused of inciting the violence in Cairo in which more than 50 people were killed

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie is accused of inciting the violence in Cairo in which more than 50 people were killed

Its supporters have since been staging protests outside the capital’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, not far from the barracks, demanding his release and reinstatement.

The movement’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), has said it will not accept an offer to join the cabinet being set up by interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, a 76-year-old economist and former finance minister who was appointed on Tuesday.

The arrest warrants could scupper any attempts to persuade the Brotherhood to participate in the transitional political process.

Spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said the charges against Mohamed Badie, known as the General Guide, and other senior leaders, were “nothing more than an attempt by the police state to dismantle the Rabaa protest”.

Prosecutors also said they had ordered 200 people – believed to be Brotherhood members – to be held in custody for at least 15 days pending further investigation into accusations of murder, incitement to violence, carrying unlicensed weapons and disrupting public order. Another 450 have been released on bail.

There were conflicting reports about what happened on Monday, with the interim authorities being accused of a cover-up.

The Brotherhood maintains that soldiers carried out a massacre of peaceful demonstrators, who had been taking part in dawn prayers outside the Presidential Guard barracks.

But the police and the military say they acted in self-defence, and had opened fire only after being attacked by armed assailants.

More than 50 Brotherhood supporters were killed, as well as a soldier and two policemen.

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