POSTED: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 10:17am
UPDATED: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 10:50pm
CAIRO - Egypt's Vice President has confirmed that Hosni Mubarak has quit the presidency and left Cairo for the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh as protesters marched on his main presidential palace and held vast rallies across Egypt.
NBC News reported Mubarak had left from Almaza military airport with his family, citing a high-ranking official and a security source, and the news was later confirmed by a local government official.
However the significance of the move was unclear as Mubarak regularly travels to the town on the southern tip of the Sinai region, where he has a palace.
Mubarak passed most of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman Thursday night, rebuffing the demands of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators that he step down immediately.
U.S. officials told NBC News that despite confusion over a speech by Mubarak Thursday — in which he appeared to suggest he was still ultimately in charge — the Obama administration was confident that Suleiman was now running the country.
A White House official said Mubarak's decision to leave Cairo was a "positive first step."
And a U.S. official told NBC News that "clearly with his departure to Sharm, the transition is underway... but particular aspects are still being resolved."