I Suleiman said Mubarak had handed power to the high

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command of the armed forces.

"In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate,citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt isgoing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to stepdown from the office of president of the republic and hascharged the high council of the armed forces to administer theaffairs of the country," he said.

"May God help everybody."

Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader, hailed themoment as being the "greatest day of my life", he told AP.

"The country has been liberated after decades ofrepression," he said.

"I have waited, I have worked all my adult life to seethe power of the people come to the fore and show itself. I amspeechless." Dina Magdi, a pro-democracy campaigner in TahrirSquare told Al Jazeera.

"The moment is not only about Mubarak stepping down,it is also about people''s power to bring about the change thatno-one ... thought possible."

In Alexandria, Egypt''s second city, witnessed an"explosion of emotion" as hundreds of thousands werecelebrating in the streets.

US President Obama said he was informed of EgyptianPresident''s decision to step down during a meeting in the OvalOffice. Obama then watched TV coverage of the scene in Cairofor several minutes. He will make an on-camera statement latertoday, CNN reported.

Egyptian protest leader Wael Ghonim, the Googleexecutive who has become the cyber and real-life hero of theprotest movement since he was released from a 12-day detentionearlier this week, sent out a Twitter message saying"congratulations Egypt the criminal has left the palace." PTISAZ AKJ

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