A partner of the West in fighting Islamists, Mubarak presided over an era of stagnation and repression at home and was an early victim of the “Arab Spring” revolutions that swept the region.
He died in intensive care a few weeks after undergoing surgery. Egypt’s presidency and armed forces mourned him as a hero for his role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the former air force officer will be given a military funeral.
Three days of public mourning were declared and state television played clips of Mubarak with a black ribbon at the corner of the screen.
Mubarak, who was arrested two months after being forced out by the protesters who crammed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011, spent several years in jail and military hospitals.
He was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt, but was freed in 2017 after being cleared of the charges.
He was however convicted in 2015 along with his two sons of diverting public funds to upgrade family properties. They were sentenced to three years in jail.
Egyptians, who often complained about corruption, oppression and unemployment under Mubarak, had mixed feelings about their former leader as news of his death spread.
“We had good and bad memories,” said Sherin Saad, a woman in her 30s, who criticized graft and the privatisation of public firms, which his critics say enriched the elite.
Atef Bayoumi, walking on the Nile Corniche in central Cairo, said: “He was a patriot. Regardless of the final events, he surely did good things for the country.”
In contrast, Gamal Eid, a prominent human rights activist, said on Twitter: “My condolences to all tyrants, they lost one today!”
There was no immediate reaction from Western capitals, which had valued Mubarak for preserving a peace treaty with Israel signed by his predecessor Anwar al-Sadat.
“On behalf of Israel’s citizens and government, I wish to express my deepest sorrow over the passing of President Hosni Mubarak,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “President Mubarak, a personal friend of mine, was a leader who led his nation to peace and security.”
The United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Twitter that the Arab world had lost a statesman who took significant national and historic positions.
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