UPDATE: Egypt’s Vice President Omar Suleiman has just announced that Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt for the past 30 years, has stepped down and given power to the Higher Council of the Armed Forces to run the affairs of the country.

The statement was just given on Egypt’s state-run television and is being met with wild cheers and shouts of “Victory!” from Tahrir Square.


*Al Arabiya television is reporting that President Hosni Mubarak and his family had left Cairo from a military airbase in the suburbs and had travelled to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

It did not give a source for the series of reports on the movement of the president and his family. Al Arabiya said it had confirmed the arrival of the president and his family in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Al Arabiya report came as Egypt’s powerful military backed Mubarak’s plan to stay in office until September elections earlier Friday, enraging hundreds of thousands of protesters who deluged the squares of Cairo and Alexandria and marched on presidential palaces and state television – key symbols of the authoritarian regime.

A statement from the office of the presidency is expected soon.