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Report: Israeli officials phone Mubarak's new VP

Jan. 31, 2011 11:18 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2011 10:12 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli officials have telephoned Hosni Mubarak's newly appointed vice president Omar Suleiman several times urging Egypt to maintain previous security coordination, Israeli media said.

The discussions were over Egypt's role on the Israeli border and Gaza smuggling tunnels, the Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported.

Mubarak appointed Suleiman, the first vice president in his 30-year-rule, and a new prime minister in a desperate attempt to hold on to power.

Israel, according to Ma'ariv, warned Suleiman of the risk if Egypt loses control over the smuggling tunnels. Intelligence learned that weapons and ammunition smuggling has increased during the unrest in Egypt as well as infiltrators into Israel as the army was busy trying to restore order in the country.

Quoting sources in the Israeli foreign ministry, Ma'ariv added that Suleiman might sacrifice his country’s relations with Israel in order to satisfy public opinion and thus proves that he is the right choice.

Egyptian protesters on Monday called for an indefinite strike in Egypt and a "million man march" on Tuesday in Cairo, upping the stakes in their bid to topple Mubarak's regime.

The strike was first called by workers in the canal city of Suez late on Sunday.

In Cairo's Tahrir square, hundreds of protesters camped out overnight, in a bid to keep up the biggest anti-government protests in three decades.

The army has positioned tanks around the square and was checking identity papers but letting protesters in. Civilian popular committee members were also checking papers to make sure no plainclothes police get in.

The protests against Mubarak's three-decade rule have shaken Egypt and left at least 125 people dead as the veteran leader clings to power.

A curfew slapped on Cairo, Alexandria and Suez on Friday was further extended on Sunday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 am, state television said, leaving citizens only seven hours a day to take to the street.

Mubarak has struggled to placate a nation angry at his three decades of autocratic rule with token gestures such as sacking the government.
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