Egypt's foreign minister said Omar Suleiman, above, was targeted in a shooting [Reuters]

Omar Suleiman, the former vice president of Hosni Mubarak, the ousted Egytian president, survived an assassination attempt a few weeks ago, the Middle East News Agency has reported, citing a television interview with Egypt's foreign minister.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit confirmed on Egyptian satellite channel, Al Hayaat TV, that Suleiman's life was targeted at the height of the recent nationwide revolution, MENA, an Egyptian news agency, said on Thursday.

Gheit said that he witnessed the shooting attack on Suleiman's vehicle in an area near the presidential palace in Heliopolis, in the capital Cairo.

He said assailants stole an ambulance in order to approach Suleiman's cortege and attacked it. The incident left one of Suleiman's bodyguards dead, while another bodyguard and a driver received injuries.

On February 5, a senior Egyptian security source denied reports in the US media that there had been an assassination attempt, calling them "groundless".

Since 1986, Suleiman had been one of the leading figures in Egypt's intelligence system. He was appointed to the long vacant vice presidency seat by Mubarak last month.

In February, Suleiman announced Mubarak's resignation and left his post.


Meanwhile, Egyptian police detained former information minister Anas al-Fikki and former state broadcasting chief Osama al-Sheikh on Thursday as part of a probe into alleged fraud under Mubarak, according to a security official.

Both men were arrested from their homes during the morning on warrants from the financial affairs section of the prosecutor's office, the official said.

Fikki is the fourth member of Mubarak's former government to be detained, after the former ministers of interior Habib al-Adly, tourism Zoheir Garranah and housing Ahmed al-Maghrabi.

On Wednesday, the judiciary announced that former culture minister Faruk Hosni, who stood unsuccessfully for the leadership of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2009, was banned from leaving
the country pending further inquiries.

A dozen businessmen regarded as close to the ousted regime have also been placed under investigation since Mubarak's resignation on February 11.

Source: Agencies