The former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei was spotted walking along el-Moezz Street a few minutes before Friday prayer. The potential contender for the 2011 presidential election later performed the prayer alongside other visitors at Al-Hussein Mosque.
Security sources confirmed they had learned about the visit early Friday morning. The Interior Ministry sent eight central security trucks which lined up on Al-Azhar Street, opposite the mosque. Dozens of officers were deployed to monitor the situation.
ElBaradei made the decision to visit Al-Hussein on Wednesday afternoon. He informed hims family and a limited number of members from the Independent Popular Campaign to Support ElBaradei for the Presidency, who were visiting his home at the time.
During the meeting at his house, ElBaradei told his supporters that in the upcoming stage, he will focusing on going out into the street to strengthen his relationship with the people and to promote his agenda of political reform.
ElBaradei arrived at Al-Hussein around 11:30 AM on Friday, accompanied by his brother Ali and seven members of the popular campaign. Pedestrians reportedly scrambled to shake hands with ElBaradei, while others shouted, "Hey! ElBaradei is here!" as ElBaradei walked up and down el-Moezz Street and then headed to Al-Hussein Mosque to pray.
The visit was originally unannounced, with only a few international news agencies aware of it. However, news about the visit spread quickly on Twitter.
Eyewitnesses and ElBaradei supporters said the security forces were cooperative during the visit, with one officer reportedly offering ElBaradei a small car to facilitate his tour, which he declined.
This visit will be followed by other forms of public engagement in Cairo and the other governorates, said officials from ElBaradei’s campaign.
Reflecting on the visit, ElBaradei said, "Thank God the people support what we are doing."
Translated from the Arabic Edition.