Egyptian ex-intelligence chief Omar Suleiman dies | News | DW | 19.07.2012
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Egyptian ex-intelligence chief Omar Suleiman dies

Egypt’s former intelligence chief has died. Omar Suleiman had served under deposed leader Hosni Mubarak for over 20 years. He had tried to come back into power as a presidential candidate during Egypt’s May elections.

Egypt's long-time intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, has died. Suleiman passed away early Thursday in a US hospital after undergoing medical tests, according to the official Middle East News Agency. Aides to Suleiman said that his death came unexpectedly, but did not indicate the cause.

“His health deteriorated recently. He was in the United States with his family," one of his aides, Reem Mamdouh, told AFP.

The family was reportedly making plans to return Suleiman's body to Egypt for burial.

Best known for role in Mubarak's regime

Suleiman, who was born in the southern city of Qena in 1936, was best known as Egypt's intelligence director. He began his military career after graduating from Egypt's military academy in 1955.

Deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak promoted Suleiman to director of the country's intelligence service in 1991. During his nearly 20 years as a top-ranking official, Suleiman became a key negotiator in diplomatic relations between Egypt and Israel, the US, and Palestinian factions.

Mubarak appointed Suleiman to vice president in January 2011 during the uprising. After Mubarak's regime fell, Suleiman disappeared from the public, only to return last spring as a presidential candidate. Egypt's election commission denied his request because he had not collected the required number of signatures.

Suleiman left Egypt soon after being disqualified from the presidential election.

kms/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)