ALEXANDRIA - Egypt has detained 22 women members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a security official said on Friday, fuelling tensions days before deposed President Mohamed Morsi and 14 other leaders of the Islamist group go on trial.

Security forces have arrested thousands of Islamists since the army toppled Morsi on July 3 and promised a roadmap would lead to free and fair elections. But they rarely detain women Islamists, especially in such big numbers.

Nasser al-Abd, a senior security official in Egypt's second city Alexandria, said the charges against the women include using force to disrupt traffic during protests, membership of an outlawed group and distributing illegal leaflets.

A lawyer representing the suspects said they were aged between 15 and 25. They were detained on Thursday morning.

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