Egypt's new military rulers buckled under continued public pressure and removed Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, handpicked by ousted President Hosni Mubarak, replacing him with a new nominee.
Former Transport Minister Essam Sharaf will be the new prime minster, a brief military statement said. The sacking of Shafiq was a key demand of the opposition protest movement.
A former Air Force officer, Shafiq was named the prime minister shortly after the outbreak of anti-government protests on January 25. The military statement said the new prime minister had been tasked with forming a new caretaker government, which will oversee bringing in wide ranging changes in the country's constitution leading to holding of new elections.
The protest leaders have been vehement in demanding a complete change in the government as they want all leaders linked to the Mubarak era to be changed. They are also demanding that the army should take over the task of looking after law and order.
Aftermath the ouster of strongman Mubarak, Egypt has been rocked by escalating crime graph with increased reported in robberies and hold-ups. The sacking of the prime minister comes as a state owned newspaper al-Akhbar reported that the toppled president had been shifted to Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for cancer.
"Mubarak is currently in the Saudi military base in the city of Tabuk receiving treatment for suspected colon and pancreatic cancer," the paper said quoting well informed sources. The paper said Mubarak had shifted to Saudi city just days after he stepped down on February 11 and handed power to a military council.
Al-Akhbar said that Mubarak's wife Suzanne and his two sons Alaa and Gamal were also with him in Tabuk. However, there was no official confirmation of the report. The new Egyptian authorities have barred Mubarak and his family from travelling abroad and frozen his assets within the country.