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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 17:37 GMT
Egypt detains Brotherhood members
Muslim Brotherhood supporter
The Brotherhood says hundreds of supporters have been jailed recently
The outlawed Egyptian opposition group the Muslim Brotherhood says another 85 of its members have been detained in dawn raids across the country.

The Brotherhood says the arrests are part of a campaign to destroy it as a political force ahead of local elections next month.

It says more than 600 supporters have been detained in the past few weeks.

Although officially banned in Egypt, Brotherhood members have been able to stand as independents in polls.

They hold about a fifth of the seats in the Egyptian parliament.

A Brotherhood spokesman said those detained were all likely candidates in the council elections.

They were picked up in sweeps from Qena in Upper Egypt to Alexandria on the northern coast, he said.

Tuesday marks the beginning of a 10-day registration period for candidates who wish to stand in the 8 April council elections.

Correspondents say Egypt's 4,500 local councils are key institutions in Egypt's centralised system of state control.

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