Egypt Fireworks 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Celebrations erupted across the Middle East on Friday after Hosni Mubarak stepped down as Egypt's president. From Beirut to Gaza, people rushed into the streets, handing out candy, setting off fireworks and shooting in the air.
RELATED:Egypt's Mubarak steps down as presidentMubarak resignation cheered by world markets
Even in Israel, which had watched the Egyptian protesters' uprising against Mubarak with concern, a former Cabinet minister said Mubarak did the right thing. "The street won. There was nothing that could be done. It's good that he did what he did," former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who knew Mubarak well, told Israel TV's Channel 10.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, and there are fears the 1979 accord could now be challenged.
Moments after Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement
of Mubarak's resignation, fireworks lit up the sky over Beirut.
Celebratory gunfire rang out in the Shiite-dominated areas in south
Lebanon and in southern Beirut.
On Al-Manar TV, the station run by the Shiite Muslim Hizbullah faction,
Egyptian anchor Amr Nassef, who was once imprisoned in Egypt for alleged
ties to Islamists, cried emotionally on the air and said: "Allahu Akbar
(God is great), the Pharaoh is dead. Am I dreaming? I'm afraid to be
In Tunisia, where a successful uprising expelled a longtime leader only
weeks earlier, cries of joy and the thundering honking of horns greeted
the announcement. "God delivered our Egyptian brothers from this
dictator," said Yacoub Youssef, one of those celebrating in the capital
Tunisia inspired pro-democracy protest movements across the Arab world
after a month of deadly demonstrations pushed dictator Zine El Abidine
Ben Ali into exile in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14.
There was no immediate official reaction from Tunisia's caretaker government.
In the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas, thousands rushed into the streets in
jubilation. Gunmen fired in the air and women handed out candy. "God
bless Egypt, it's a day of joy and God willing all corrupt leaders in
the world will fall," said Radwa Abu Ali, 55, one of the women
Egypt, along with Israel, had enforced a border blockade on Gaza after
the territory was seized by Hamas in 2007. There were some expectations
that under a new Egyptian regime, the blockade would be eased.
"This is a victory for the will of the people and a turning point in the
future of the region," said Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman.