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Monday, January 31, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Egypt regime's non-security leaders beat retreat on 'flights to the Gulf'

CAIRO — Leading members of the regime of President Hosni Mubarak have fled Egypt.


Opposition sources said members of the former Cabinet have fled their homes and offices and were seen leaving Egypt over the last 24 hours. They said several ministers were accompanied by heavy security escorts for protection against Egyptian mobs.

"Many of the ministers have already escaped on flights to the Gulf," an opposition source said. "The ones responsible for defense and security are still here."

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The sources said 19 business jets transported senior members of the Mubarak regime and their families from Cairo to the United Arab Emirates' port of Dubai on late Jan. 29. They said Saudi Arabia has also offered asylum to Mubarak associates.

On Jan. 31, Egypt's security chief fled his office but was said to have remained in Cairo, Middle East Newsline reported. Interior Minister Habib Adli was rushed out of the besieged ministry amid gunfire and later ordered the return of police to the Egyptian capital.

"It is necessary that the police role is quickly restored and that there should be cooperation in the field with the armed forces to defend the presence and future of the nation," Adli was quoted by Egypt's state-owned media as saying.

Adli was said to have been trapped for nearly 48 hours as Egyptian protesters tried to rush the Interior Ministry compound. About 25 people were said to have been killed by fire from the compound.

Mubarak has appointed a new Cabinet led by former Air Force chief Ahmed Shafik as well as a vice president, Maj. Gen. Omar Suleiman. On Jan. 31, Mubarak was reported by state television to have visited military headquarters as protests continued throughout the country.

At the same time, Hussein Tantawi, the defense minister said to have been ousted in the Cabinet shakeup, was seen on Egyptian state television in a soldier's uniform in Cairo. Tantawi, who secretly went to Washington in late January to discuss a post-Mubarak regime, greeted soldiers.

So far, the Egyptian Army has not moved to quell the anti-Mubarak protests or enforce the nightly curfew. But on Jan. 30, the Air Force sent U.S.-origin F-16 multi-role fighters to fly low over the main opposition demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square as organizers discussed strategy.

"Our essential demand is the departure of the regime and the beginning of a new Egypt in which each Egyptian lives in virtue, freedom and dignity," opposition leader Mohammed El Baradei said. "What we've begun cannot be reversed."

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