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Google Executive Missing In Egypt

February 2, 2011

The leading Internet search company Google Inc. says that Middle East and North Africa marketing head, Wael Ghonim, has not been seen since late Thursday in central Cairo, which has been wracked by anti-government protests. The Egyptian government had cut off Internet access in the country in an attempt to restrict communications among protesters.

“The safety of our employees is very important to Google, so if anyone has any information please call the following UK number: +44 20 7031 3008,” Google said in a statement. An unnamed person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Ghonim, based in Dubai had traveled to Cairo for “personal reasons.”

Google launched a special service for Egypt to allow people to dial a telephone number and leave a voice mail which would then be sent on Twitter as a text message to work around the Internet communications restrictions. Google has temporarily closed its office in Cairo to ensure the general safety of its employees, the person said.

On Monday, the Egyptian army said it would not take action against demonstrators but at least 140 people have died since demonstrations against the 30-year rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began last Tuesday, most in clashes between protesters and police.

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