Internet at least partially restored in Cairo: AFP

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Internet services were at least partially restored in Cairo Wednesday after a five-day cut amid raging protests against President Hosni Mubarak's regime, AFP journalists and Internet users said.

After days without internet, RNW correspondent Mohammed Adulrahman was able to send photographs out via Egyptian provider TE Data. "Apparently the authorities are confident that they can keep the situation under control," he said from Cairo.

There is no guarantee that the web is now safe to use. Experience in Tunisia has shown that the toppled regime had installed huge amounts of monitoring programmes, keeping track of what Tunisians published via Facebook, for instance.

Egypt's four main Internet service providers cut off international access to their customers in a near simultaneous move at 2234 UTC on Thursday, two days after anti-Mubarak protests began, many coordinated via the Internet.

Sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become increasingly important for protest organisers. Around 23 million Egyptians have either regular or occasional access to the Internet, according to official figures, more than a quarter of the population.

The shutdown in Egypt was the most comprehensive official electronic blackout of its kind, experts said.

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