Mubarak said to be hospitalized in Saudi Arabia

State-owned Egyptian paper contradicts earlier statement from army; report says former president in Tabuk receiving chemotherapy.

March 3, 2011 01:40
2 minute read.
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak 311 Reu. (photo credit: Reuters TV / Reuters)


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A state-owned Egyptian newspaper reported on Wednesday that Hosni Mubarak was being treated in a hospital in Saudi Arabia, the latest media report about the ex-president’s medical situation since the army denied earlier speculation about Mubarak’s ill health.

The army could not be reached for comment on the report, printed in the Al- Akhbar daily.

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A military source had denied on Tuesday another media report, which said Mubarak, 82, had tried to flee Egypt with his family but was later hospitalized in Cairo.

Wednesday’s edition of Al-Akhbar quoted “sources informed about the news,” saying Mubarak was in the Saudi city of Tabuk receiving chemotherapy for one hour, every five days, to treat colon and pancreatic cancer. His family was reportedly with him in the private wing of the military hospital.

Before Mubarak stepped down on February 11, a report about Mubarak’s health in a major state newspaper such as Al-Akhbar would have been unthinkable unless given the official nod, even if official sources were not named. But since his departure, state media has become more probing about officials and the way Egypt is governed, apparently reacting to public anger over their previous failure to hold officials to account. Sourcing for state newspaper reports is not always clear.

Since he stepped down following a wave of anti-government protests, Egyptian officials have said Mubarak was in the Red Sea resort of Sharm e-Sheikh. The staterun paper Al-Gomhuria ran a feature story on its front page on Gamal Mubarak, whom the paper alleged was seen during last Friday prayers “depressed and [with] a long beard.” The younger Mubarak was reportedly seen praying among workers and bodyguards in the Sharm e- Sheikh villa of Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem.

Salem is a partner of Israeli businessman Yosef Maiman in the East Mediterranean Gas Company, which has a virtual monopoly on Egyptian natural gas sales to Israel. Late last month Salem was caught in Dubai carrying $500 million in cash, and some news reports have suggested that the former Egyptian intelligence officer may be acting as Mubarak’s frontman and courier.

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