Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mubarak left Egypt: presidential sources


Presidential sources say Egypt's three-decade ruler Hosni Mubarak has left the country, noting an address he is scheduled to deliver in a few hours is taped.

The reports by presidential sources came on Thursday on the heels of remarks by Hossan Badrawi, the general secretary of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party, who said Mubarak will "probably" address the nation in the evening.

He told state-funded BBC that he hopes Mubarak will transfer power to Vice President Omar Suleiman.

The opposition Muslim Brotherhood earlier said on its official website that Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq confirmed the possibility that the out-of-favor Egyptian president will step down within a few hours and leave amid continued pro-democracy protests.

Unconfirmed reports also said Mubarak had already travelled to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with his army chief of staff.

Other reports indicated that the Egyptian army has taken over presidential powers, saying it supports the legitimate demands of people and that it is taking measures to protect the people.


Essam al-Erian, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's biggest opposition group, said he feared that the Egyptian military was staging a coup.

"It looks like a military coup ... I feel worry and anxiety," he told Reuters.

"The problem is not with the president, it is with the regime."

The director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Leon Panetta, said he had received unconfirmed reports that Mubarak would step down on Thursday evening. He said Suleiman would possibly take control.

"I've received reports that, possibly, Mubarak might do that," he told a congressional intelligence hearing. "We have not gotten specific word that he, in fact, will do that."

Egypt's information minister, however, denied reports that Mubarak intended to step down, insisting that the president "is still in power."

"The president is not stepping down and everything you heard in the media is a rumor," Anas el-Fekky told Reuters.

Egyptian state television showed images of Mubarak sitting behind a desk in silence while Suleiman talked. It was not immediately clear when it was filmed, though the channel said the meeting was happening now.

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