Continued from page 2

Both appointments perpetuate the military’s overriding role in Egyptian politics.

Suleiman’s frequent trips to Israel could be taken against him by a population that continues to view the Jewish state as their sworn enemy more than 30 years after the two neighbors signed a peace treaty.

With the two occupying the country’s most important jobs after the president from the military, Gamal, a banker-turned-politician, looks definitely out of the running for his father’s job.

A leaked U.S. diplomatic memo said Gamal and his clique of ruling party stalwarts and businessmen were gaining confidence in 2007 about controlling the reins of power in Egypt and that they were confident that Mubarak would eventually dump Suleiman, who was seen as a threat by Gamal and his coterie of aides.

Gamal launched his political career within the ranks of the ruling National Democratic Party, climbed over the past 10 years to become its de facto leader, dictating economic policies and bolstering his own political standing.

Gamal’s close aide and confidant, steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, resigned from the party on Saturday, according to state television. Gamal and Ezz are suspected of orchestrating the rigging of the last parliamentary election in November, making sure the ruling party won all but a small fraction of the chamber’s 518 seats.

“There is nothing short of Mubarak leaving power that will satisfy the people,” Mohamed ElBaradei, the country’s leading pro-reform activist told The Associated Press on Saturday. “I think what Mubarak said yesterday was an insult to the intelligence of the Egyptian people.”

Buildings, statues and even armored security vehicles were covered in anti-Mubarak graffiti, including the words “Mubarak must fall,” which by morning had been written over to say “Mubarak fell.”

The military extended the hours of the night curfew imposed Friday in the three major cities where the worst violence has been seen — Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. State television said it would begin at 4 p.m. and last until 8 a.m., longer than the 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. ban Friday night that appeared to not have been enforced.

Internet appeared blocked for a second day to hamper protesters who use social networking sites to organize. And after cell phone service was cut for a day Friday, two of the country’s major providers were up and running Saturday.

In the capital on Friday night, hundreds of young men carted away televisions, fans and stereo equipment looted from the ruling National Democratic Party, near the Egyptian Museum. Young men formed a human barricade in front of the museum to protect one of Egypt’s most important tourist attractions.

Others around the city looted banks, smashed cars, tore down street signs and pelted armored riot police vehicles with paving stones torn from roadways.

Banks and the stock market will be closed on Sunday, the first day of the week, because of the turmoil.

_____

AP reporters Sarah El Deeb, Maggie Michael, Margaret Hyde in Cairo and Hadeel Al-Shalchi in Alexandria, Egypt, contributed to this report.