Egyptian media said Thursday the country's military rulers have appointed former Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri to form a new government after the previous civilian Cabinet of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf resigned.
State newspaper Al Ahram said on its website that Ganzouri agreed in principle to lead a national salvation government after meeting with the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
The council also insisted that parliamentary elections will go ahead as planned Monday, despite escalating violence that has left at least 35 people dead. After days of excusing the violent crackdown on demonstrators, the council reversed course Thursday and apologized for the deaths.
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Meanwhile, thousands of Egyptian protesters and police observed a fragile truce Thursday, but the crowd remained in Cairo's Tahrir Square to press ahead with demands for the immediate resignation of the military leaders.
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Major General Mukhtar el-Mallah, of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, said the move would amount to a "betrayal" of trust. " We [Military Council] will not leave the power according to some demands and empty slogans. If l leave power now, I would be a traitor of the people and history and it would be written in the history that the Military Council abandoned and betrayed its people," he said.
Protest organizers said they would hold another mass demonstration on Friday.
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In another development, an Egyptian court has ordered the release of three American students arrested during a protest in Cairo earlier this week.
Egyptian media said the Americans, who were students at the American University in Cairo, were detained along with other protesters while throwing petrol bombs at police.
Photo Gallery : Tahrir Square Protests, Cairo, Egypt
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.