JERUSALEM — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will step down in September. The 82-year-old leader made the announcement in an address following eight of massive, sometimes violent demonstrations that plunged the nation into turmoil.
Whether his announcement, which followed a 30-minute phone conversation with President Obama, will end the demonstrations, was not immediately, clear. Many Egyptians on the streets say he should go now.
The announcement was one of several developments across the Middle East Tuesday. Israel’s military has increase its presence on the border with Egypt over fears that terrorists and migrants will take advantage of the unrest in Egypt to cross into Israel.
The army and Border Police also are concerned that large groups of Bedouin living in the Sinai will attempt to flee into Israel.
Meanwhile, Jordan’s King Abdullah fired his government in the face of a wave of demands of public accountability sweeping the Arab world according to The New York Times.
On Monday, Egypt moved 800 troops into the Sinai to quell Bedouin riots, Haaretz reported, part of the demonstrations throughout the country calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The movement of troops into Sinai, which is a violation of the peace accord between Israel and Egypt, reportedly was undertaken with Israel’s permission.
At least 250,000 protesters gathered Tuesday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, with about 1 million assembling throughout the capital and tens of thousands more throughout the country for the planned million-man march calling for Mubarak to step down.
Soldiers surrounding the square checked protesters for weapons but otherwise have not interfered, following a pledge Monday not to use force on protesters, according to reports.
Also Tuesday, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said it would not negotiate with Mubarak or members of his government, and called for Mubarak to leave the country, Al Jazeera reported.
Some pro-government protests also are gaining momentum, according to Al Jazeera.