Hosni Mubarak 'May Step Down' Thursday Night

World | February 10, 2011, Thursday // 18:31|  views

Egypt's military said Thursday it would respond to the "legitimate" demands of the people as President Hosni Mubarak's regime tottered in the face of massive nationwide protests demanding his overthrow. EPA/BGNES

There is a strong likelihood that embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will step down Thursday night, CIA Director Leon Panetta told the US Congress.

Mubarak has agreed to yield power to his vice president, a senior US official told CNN, citing contacts within the Egyptian government.

This official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said that given the mixed signals sent throughout the crisis that "we need to see it happen."

But the source said the information came from reliable and ranking officials in the Mubarak regime. Asked when the transfer of power might take place, the official said: "We are told soon is the plan."

The secretary-general of Egypt's ruling party confirmed Thursday that a transition was underway and he expected Mubarak to address the nation soon.

Meanwhile a senior member of Egypt's governing party has told the BBC he "hopes" that President Hosni Mubarak will transfer power to Vice-President Omar Suleiman.

Hossan Badrawi, secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP), said Mubarak would "most probably" address the nation on Thursday evening.

It comes on the 17th day of protests against his 30-year rule.

The Egyptian military has said it is ready to respond to the "legitimate demands of the people".

In a statement on Egyptian state TV, it said the safety and security of the people were paramount.

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