Last Updated: Thu Feb 24, 2011 14:11 pm (KSA) 11:11 am (GMT)

Egypt's Suleiman survived assassination bid: Govt

Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman as VP two weeks before he was forced to leave
Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman as VP two weeks before he was forced to leave

Omar Suleiman, vice president under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, had survived an assassination attempt, state news agency MENA said, citing a television interview with the minister.

A senior Egyptian security source on Feb. 5 denied reports in U.S. media that there had been an assassination attempt.

But Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on satellite channel Al Hayaat TV late on Wednesday that previous reports about Suleiman were correct. He said that he witnessed the shooting attack on Suleiman's vehicle in an area near the presidential palace in Heliopolis in Cairo.

Aboul Gheit said the gunmen were inside a "stolen ambulance vehicle." One of Suleiman's bodyguards was killed, while another bodyguard and the driver were injured, MENA reported.

More arrests

Meanwhile, Egyptian police detained former information minister Anas al-Fikki and former state broadcasting chief Osama al-Sheikh on Thursday as part of a probe into alleged graft under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, a security official said.

Both men were arrested from their homes during the morning on warrants from the financial affairs section of the prosecutor's office, the official said.

Fikki is the fourth member of Mubarak's former government to be detained, after the former ministers of interior Habib al-Adly, tourism Zoheir Garranah and housing Ahmed al-Maghrabi.

On Wednesday, the judiciary announced that former culture minister Faruk Hosni, who stood unsuccessfully for the leadership of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009, was banned from leaving the country pending further inquiries.

A dozen businessmen regarded as close to the ousted regime have also been placed under investigation since Mubarak's resignation on February 11.

The public prosecutor on Thursday referred the chairman and chief executive of Palm Hills Development Egypt's second-biggest listed real estate firm, to a criminal court on charges of wasting public funds.

Yasseen Mansour is one of several businessman -- along with Ahmed Ezz, steel magnate and chairman of Ezz Steel -- to face these charges.

The prosecutor also referred a former trade minister, Rachid Mohamed Rachid, who had already been charged with squandering public money, to a criminal court, the statement added.

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