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Egypt turmoil: Interim cabinet sworn in

A new interim Egyptian government has been sworn in, with army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the ousting of Mohammed Morsi, becoming deputy PM as well as defence minister.

Hazem al-Beblawi is the new PM, under the interim President Adly Mansour.

The swearing in followed another night of violence between security forces and Morsi supporters that left seven dead.

A spokesman for Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood called the interim government “illegitimate”.

Mr Morsi was ousted on 3 July in what many have said was a military coup.

The army said it was fulfilling the demands of the people after mass anti-Morsi protests.

Gen Sisi already held the defence portfolio, but now also becomes interim prime minister.

Mohammed Ibrahim, who had been appointed interior minister by Mr Morsi, keeps his post.

Nabil Fahmy becomes foreign minister and Sherif Ismail is the interim oil minister. Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, a Christian, is the interim trade and industry minister.

There are three women ministers, including Maha el-Rabat, who takes the health portfolio.

There were no posts for any figures from Islamist parties in the new government. The Brotherhood had said it would not take part.

Its spokesman, Gehad el-Haddad, said: “It’s an illegitimate government, an illegitimate prime minister, an illegitimate cabinet. We don’t recognise anyone in it.”

The interim government’s transition plan will see a panel formed by next week which will draw up amendments to the constitution and a timetable for new elections.

The swearing-in ceremony comes amid continuing deadly violence.

More than 400 people were arrested and seven killed in overnight clashes in the capital, Cairo.

The battles erupted after protesters, mostly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, blocked the Sixth of October Bridge, a major route over the Nile and through the capital, and the nearby Ramses Square, a transport hub.

Police fired tear gas to try to break up the blockade. Protesters responded by throwing stones. Other clashes broke out in the Giza district, in the south-west.

The head of Egypt’s emergency services, Mohamed Sultan, said two people had died on or around the bridge and five in Giza.

State media quoted health ministry official Khaled al-Khatib as saying that 261 people were injured in the clashes, which lasted into the early hours of Tuesday. Mr Khatib said 124 people were still in hospital.

Mr Sultan said security personnel were among the casualties.

State media later quoted officials as saying 401 people had been arrested for “provoking unrest”.

Members of the Brotherhood said security forces had used live ammunition, and accused them of attacking a peaceful protest.

On Tuesday, Egypt’s military spokesman, Col Ahmed Mohamed Ali, denied that the army had used excessive force.

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