Egypt's Mubarak to step down, sources say
NBC News is told VP will take over; protesters and opposition fear a military coupNBC, msnbc.com and news services
Feb 10, 2011
CAIRO — Egypt's President Hosni
Mubarak is to step down tonight, two sources have told NBC News, losing his 30-year grip on power after 17 days of mass uprisings across the country.
NBC's Richard Engel reported that a high-ranking source inside the president's office said the newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, would take over. This was confirmed by a second source.
State television reported that country's supreme military council had expressed its "support of the legitimate demands" of the protesters after an all-day meeting. The latest developments came on the heels of repeated warnings by members of the regime of a military crackdown or coup.
Some pro-democracy protesters reacted cautiously to the reports Mubarak was leaving, saying they would only believe them if and when he announced his departure on television.
State TV said Mubarak would speak to the nation Thursday night from his palace in Cairo and showed footage of the president meeting with Suleiman. It said the meeting was continuing Thursday.
There were unconfirmed reports that Mubarak had left Cairo for the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh or gone overseas, but sources told NBC News he was still in the capital.
Eyewitnesses told NBC News that Mubarak's residence was sealed off by tanks, troops and razor wire.
'Safeguard the nation'
The Associated Press reported that Mubarak was not present at Thursday's supreme council meeting, despite being the commander in chief of Egypt's armed forces. Suleiman, a former army general and intelligence chief named to his post after the protests erupted Jan. 25, also was not there.
Live blog: Police prepare for announcement
A spokesman read a statement that the council was in permanent session to explore "what measures and arrangements could be made to safeguard the nation, its achievements and the ambitions of its great people."
The statement was labeled "communique number 1," a phrasing that The Associated Press said suggested a military coup could be under way.
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