An Interior Ministry official said the men were arrested on Sunday for being found in possession of anti-government publications.

Mohamed Habib, Brotherhood deputy leader, said the arrests were a message to opposition groups that they must forget talk of political reform.

"The government and the regime want to send a message to us ... that there is nothing new and that all the promises it made for political reform must be forgotten," Habib said.

Earlier arrests

"The government and the regime want to send a message to us ... that there is nothing new and that all the promises it made for political reform must be forgotten"

Mohamed Habib, Brotherhood deputy leader

Egyptian police have arrested 12 others, including leading members, since Friday.

The Brotherhood won nearly a fifth of the seats in Egypt's parliament in legislative elections late last year in its strongest ever electoral showing.

The authorities arrested hundreds of Brotherhood activists during the elections.

The group, which forms the largest opposition bloc in parliament, is officially banned, but usually operates openly.