Mubarak survived 6 assassination attempts but brought down by

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his own people

Rania

Cairo, Feb 11 (PTI) Hosni Mubarak survived sixassassination attempts during his 30-year rule of Egypt withan iron hand but could not survive the deluge of unprecedentedstreet protests and was brought down by his own people.

Until the outbreak of the grassroot uprising on January25, 82-year-old Mubarak seemed insurmountable as president ofthe most populous nation in the Arab world.

When he was elevated to the presidency in the wake ofAnwar Sadat''s assassination in 1981, few had expected that thelittle-known vice-president would hold on to the country''s topjob for so long.

Mubarak, who was lucky to escape when Sadat wasassassinated by Islamic radicals at a military parade inCairo, has survived at least six assassination attempts sincethen.

The narrowest being in 1995 shortly after his arrivalin the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to attend an Africansummit. In the end, he was consumed by people''s anger and furythat lasted 18 days.

Mubarak was sworn in on 14 October 1981, eight daysafter the Sadat assassination.

The former Egyptian Air Force commander, despitehaving little popular appeal, had managed to hold on to powerfor three decades by positioning himself as a trusted Westernally to keep peace with Israel.

Throughout his years in power, Mubarak maintained theunpopular policy of peace with Israel and accomodation withthe West that cost Sadat his life.

Mubarak, who ruled as a quasi-military leader since hetook power, kept the country under emergency law, withsweeping powers to curb basic freedoms in the county.

He argued that draconian laws were necessary to combatIslamist terrorism, that he said would target the country''slucrative tourism sector.

Amid pressure from his powerful ally United States,Mubarak had come under pressure for the first time toencourage democracy in the country.

Mubarak, who won three elections unopposed since 1981,had to change the system to allow rival candidates in hisfourth contest in 2005.

Never a smoker or a drinker, he has built himself areputation as a fit man who leads a healthy life.

In his younger days, close associates often complained ofthe president''s schedule, which began with a workout in thegym or a game of squash.

He had groomed his 40-year-old former investmentbanker son Gamal Mubarak to become the next leader as he movedsteadily up the ranks of the NDP. But the street protestsderailed that ambitious plans.

Born in 1928 in a small village at Menofya provincenear Cairo, Mubarak is married to a half-British graduate ofthe American University in Cairo, Suzanne Mubarak. They havetwo sons..

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