A failed attempt on the life of Egypt's newly appointed vice president has reportedly left two of his bodyguards dead.
According to Fox News, an apparent attack on Omar Suleiman in recent days marks an alarming turn of events in the continuing anti-government protests in the streets of Cairo, suggesting some protesters may be willing to force a violent coup as President Hosni Mubarak refuses to relinquish power.
Mubarak appointed Suleiman as vice president on January 29 after dismissing his own cabinet at the behest of growing protests. Fox News is reporting that, according to sources, the orchestrated attack on Suleiman was so "well organized," security officials are classifying it as an assassination plot.
When asked to address the assassination reports Friday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined to comment. "I'm not going to ... get into that questions," he said Friday.
Suleiman is expected to meet Saturday with a group of prominent officials to discuss a proposed solution to the country's crisis, including possibly assuming the presidency on a temporary basis if Mubarak steps down. The LA Times reports:
Diaa Rashwan told Reuters news agency Friday that he and others had been invited to see Vice President Omar Suleiman, an ex-intelligence chief who has the confidence of Washington, to discuss an article of the constitution allowing President Hosni Mubarak to hand powers to his deputy.
The negotiations could allow Mubarak to stay and serve out his fifth term, but stripped of his powers.
In addition to the reported violence against Suleiman, a government official, an Egyptian journalist was killed by a sniper on Jan. 28 at his home near Tahrir Square as he took photos from a balcony. Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud, 36, died of his wounds Friday, marking the first first reported death of a journalist in the chaos surrounding Egypt's anti-government protests.