Friday, February 11, 2011

Game over: Mubarak flees Cairo

Egypt's presidential palace may be empty at this hour. Al Arabiya television is reporting that embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family have fled Cairo.

Mubarak, who Thursday night, maintained his intention to stay in office until the September elections, enraging hundreds of thousands of protesters, travelled with his family to the Read Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, according to Al Arabiya television. His exact location however was unknown, with reports from al Jazeera, as well as Twitter, claiming he had left for the United Arab Emirates.

The news comes as protesters moved overnight to the Ittihadiya presidential palace in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis for the first time since protests started in Jan. 25. The protesters gathered up against a barbed wire cordon around the palace, about 50 metres from the palace walls at its closest point. Tanks and soldiers of the elite Republican Guard, responsible for the president's security, surrounded the palace. "The Republican Guard are protecting the presidential palaces," an armed forces source said.

The president often spends time in Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular tourist destination on the Red Sea, and receives guests there.

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