Egyptian Vice President survives assassination attempt: report

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Washington, Feb 5 (PTI) Egypt''s newly appointed VicePresident Omar Suleiman, tipped to head a transitionalgovernment in the nation, survived an assassination attemptwhich left two of his bodyguards dead.

The incident was reported by Fox News which said thatthe attempt had been made on January 29 when his motorcade hadcome under attack.

Quoting US officials, Fox said, "such an attempt onthe life of Omar Suleiman would mark an alarming turn in theuprising against the government of President Hosni Mubarak,who only recently named Suleiman as Vice President in aneffort to quell the unrest and possibly line up a successor."

The officials described it as an organised attack onSuleiman''s motorcade.

The Vice President post was empty when Mubarak tappedSuleiman for the job after the massive anti-governmentprotests began. Suleiman would stand to take over as interimleader of Egypt in some of the proposals reportedly beingconsidered for an expedited political transition.

Fox news said Suleiman also comes up with an imageproblem of his own after serving as head of Mubarak''sintelligence forces.

"As spy chief, he was known for his strong-arm tacticsand was seen as one of the region''s most feared and reveredintelligence chiefs," Fox news said.

It isn''t immediately clear who was behind theassassination attempt, the channels said.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, however,refused to comment on the issue.

"I am not going to... get into that question," Gibbswas quoted as saying.

The reported attack on Suleiman comes amid reports ofa rocket propelled grenade being fired at the state securityheadquarters in the port city of El-Arish, setting thebuilding on fire.

Unknown attackers today blew up a gas terminal nearthe Israeli border.

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