Egypt's ruling military council announced Thursday that the country's prime minister had resigned.
The departure of Ahmed Shafiq, an ally of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, was a key demand of activists, who have called for huge new demonstrations Friday.
But they have also demanded an end to the long-standing emergency law, the release of political prisoners and other reforms, and it was unclear whether his dismissal would appease them, Washington Post reports.
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei called the move "a step on the right path" in a message on his Twitter account. Ayman Nour, a former presidential candidate, welcomed the departure and said prominent ministers under Mubarak shouldn't be part of a new Cabinet. "The pressure must continue," he said in a phone interview.
The move comes a day before protests planned by opposition groups calling for an end to Shafik's government. Mubarak was forced from office last month after 18 days of mass demonstrations, ending three decades of rule.
He ceded authority to the army council, which suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament, saying it would rule for six months or until elections are held, Bloomberg reports.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea