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Tanks, Fighter Jets Enter Cairo

Egypt sent its tanks into Cairo and its fighter planes soared through the skies overhead Sunday in an effort to persuade protesters to return home.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 1/30/2011, 5:40 PM / Last Update: 1/30/2011, 5:37 PM

Egypt sent its tanks into Cairo over the weekend and its fighter planes soared through the skies overhead in an effort to persuade protesters to return home.

Military helicopters hovered over the crowds and trucks of soldiers appeared in the central square of the capital where protesters continued to call for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

State media reported that Mubarak held talks with top military commanders earlier in the day, as troops attempted to enforce a 4:00 p.m. curfew in a city of some 18 million people.

Hundreds of Muslim terrorists and thousands of other inmates were freed by armed gangs from jails across the capital just before dawn on Sunday. The former prisoners rushed into the city with guns, sticks and clubs, indiscriminately smashing cars and robbing people.

The stock market was shut down and banks were closed on the order of Egypt's Central Bank. Markets across the Middle East, as well as the Dow Jones in New York, fell in response to the fear that Egypt's instability will damage its economy and that of the region.

U.S. officials told its citizens to prepare to evacuate, and private tour groups and corporations started trying to get their clients and employees out of the country. The scene at Cairo International Airport was one of crowds of travelers desperate to leave, according to U.S.-based ABC News. But dozens of flights have been canceled in the past 24 hours, and many others were delayed, leaving hapless passengers with no way out.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters the U.S. expects the protests will lead to free and fair elections as part of an "orderly" transition to "real democracy."

Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, however, told the Cabinet on Sunday that he and other officials were "anxiously monitoring what is happening in Egypt and [elsewhere]." He added that he had consulted with U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as Secretary Clinton, and with Israel's leadership and top intelligence brass in an effort to "continue and maintain stability and security in our region."