Green laser lights shone from the street as fireworks exploded in the distance at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. The main thoroughfare was packed with Egyptians in tense anticipation of the end of the 48-hour deadline the Egyptian military has given for President Mohammed Morsi to either resign or agree to some sort of compromise.
The cheering of the crowd was constant as various people shouted in loudspeakers and blew horns and whistles. Callers exhorted the crowd in chanting political slogans. The atmosphere was almost festive, despite the possibility of a bloody civil war. The protests of the past week have resulted in numerous deaths.
Finally, as Wednesday evening dragged on, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi broadcast on national television the decision to remove President Mohammed Morsi from power. The new interim president was announced as Adly Mansour, who was until now, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court.
The Egyptian army deployed soldiers around the presidential compound and army vehicles have been stationed at Tahrir Square as well, although their presence seemed minimal compared to the mass cheering, flag waving and celebratory fireworks.
There were no reports of violence Wednesday night in Tahrir Square despite the tension.
Mere hours before the coup, United States State Department officials released statements expressing concern regarding the events. "This is a sensitive situation. We are very concerned about the events in the area," State Department officials said.
Now that Egypt has again replaced its leadership, what will it mean for Israel? The two neighboring countries fought three full scale wars until the 1978 Camp David Accords in which Israel relinquished control of the strategic and oil-rich Sinai Peninsula in exchange for a cessation of hostilities with its southern neighbor.
The ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 resulted in an increased level of lawlessness and violence in the Sinai region. The repeated attacks on the natural gas pipelines that supplied power to Israel, Jordan and Egypt were one example of such anarchy.
Morsi was an adherent to the Muslim Brotherhood, which since 1928 has been both openly and covertly hostile to a Jewish presence in the Middle East. It remains to be seen how Wednesday night's change in leadership will affect the Jewish State.
Photo credits: Reuters News Service.