World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt's former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, one of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's closest associates and briefly his deputy, died in the United States while undergoing medical tests, one of his aides said.
He was 76. An urbane, shadowy figure, Suleiman was Mubarak's go-between of choice with Israel and the United States. As one of the autocratic leader's most trusted advisers, he takes some of the fallen government's most closely guarded secrets to his grave.
"He was fine. It came suddenly while he was having medical tests in Cleveland," the aide, Hussein Kamal, told Reuters without saying what caused the death. Preparations were under way to bring his body back home for burial, Kamal said.
Suleiman stepped briefly into the limelight last year when he was made Mubarak's vice president to try to end the Arab Spring uprising against his three-decade rule.
The gamble failed when the Egyptians massed in the streets to demand Mubarak step down rejected the political concessions Suleiman offered to appease them.
Many protesters were incensed when Suleiman suggested they were not yet ready for democracy. Days later, Mubarak fell.
He returned to the public sphere in April, alarming the mostly young revolutionaries who led the January 2011 uprising by bidding for the presidency.
He was disqualified when he failed to win the required backing. The election was won by Mohamed Mursi, the candidate of Mubarak's chief Islamist adversary the Muslim Brotherhood.
Suleiman left the country after his failed presidency bid, travelling to Abu Dhabi with relatives, according to a person familiar with the matter.
A senior Egyptian intelligence official, who did not want to be named, said he spoke to Suleiman's son-in-law who told him of the death. It was confirmed by Egypt's state news agency MENA.
Suleiman headed the Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS) from 1993, taking a prominent diplomatic role in Egypt's relations with Israel, Palestinian factions and aid donor and ally the United States.
He was quietly touted as a possible successor to Mubarak. although many Egyptians believed the president would serve for life or try to hand power to his son.
"He was a strong man in the Mubarak regime. Now he is in the hands of God so we cannot judge him," said Achraf Chazly, a 35-year-old lawyer.
Egypt's interim government paid tribute to Suleiman, calling him a "patriotic, honest figure" in a statement carried by state news website Al-Ahram.
Others disagreed, saying Suleiman was part of a ruling elite that imprisoned and brutally abused anyone who opposed it.
"There is sorrow for all those that hoped for his punishment on earth, to see him a convicted criminal in the prisons where he put them for so long," said Facebook user Ibrahim el-Houdaiby.
"They are implicated in affairs of corruption and suspected of plotting against state security through incitement and alleged financing of the protest movements in Tataouine and other regions," he said.
North African country typically prone to sandstorms during onset of spring
Balkan state to join alliance at Thursday's summit amid Russian criticisms
The UN children's agency said the conflict in central Kasai has disrupted food supplies and undermined medical facilities.
Security services believe the suspected bomber, Salman Abedi, was likely to have had help from others in staging the attack that killed 22 people including a girl aged just eight.
"There's a critical situation today. About 200 people fell into the water," a coastguard spokesman told AFP, while a humanitarian worker at the scene said 31 bodies had been recovered.
Annual forum on June 6-7 to discuss innovation and new policies in Mediterranean logistics and transport sectors
Jewish extremist groups called for storming Al-Aqsa complex to mark 50th anniversary of Jerusalem occupation
Trump’s much-awaited visit follows trips to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem
Officers' vehicle targeted near border with Somali after police issue terror alert
Decision comes in wake of deadly Manchester bomb attack
Cavusoglu is expected to meet Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Wednesday
President is not honest with his national dialogue proposal, representative of former exiled vice president says
Lack of medicines and ongoing electricity crisis pose serious threat to health services: Ministry of Health in Gaza
Lawsuit says 104,000 diesel-powered vehicles involved