President Hosni Mubarak will meet the demands of protesters, military and ruling party officials said today, in the strongest indication yet that Egypt's longtime president may be about to relinquish power to the armed forces.
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told the BBC that Mubarak may step down and that the situation in the country will be clarified soon.
The military's supreme council met today without Commander-in-Chief Mubarak, and declared on state TV its "support of the legitimate demands of the people."
A spokesman read a statement that the council was in permanent session to explore "what measures and arrangements could be made to safeguard the nation, its achievements and the ambitions of its great people."
The statement was labeled "communiqué number 1," a phrasing that suggests a military coup.
Footage on state TV showed Defense Minster Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi chairing the meeting of two dozen stern-faced top army officers seated around a table.
At Tantawi's right was military chief of staff General Sami Anan. Not present was Mubarak, the commander-in-chief and a former air force head, or his vice president, Omar Suleiman, a former army general and general intelligence chief assigned to his current post after the uprising erupted on January 25.
Moreover, CIA Director Leon Panetta told the US Congress that there was a strong likelihood that Mubarak would step down on Thursday night