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Google exec missing in Egypt

CAIRO, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Google's head of marketing in the Middle East and North Africa has been missing in Egypt since last week, his friends said Monday.

The Qatar news network al-Jazeera reported on its English Web site it had been in touch with friends of Wael Ghonim who said the marketing executive had been missing "since last week."

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"His wife is appealing for any information on his whereabouts," the al-Jazeera blog said. "Ghonim was guest speaker at the al-Jazeera Forum for Online Journalism & Freedom of Opinion earlier this month."

On his Facebook page, Ghonim allegedly expresses admiration for Egyptian opposition figure Mohammed ElBaradei, a leader in the protests against the Mubarak government, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Ghonim's Twitter account shows messages indicating his intention to participate in the Egyptian street protests: "Despite all the warnings I got from my relative and friends, I'll be there on #Jan25 protests. Anyone going to be in Gam'et Dewal protest?"

The last message, the Times said, was a tweet sent Thursday responding to a message sent asking: "@Ghonim how can you tweet when it's blocked??"

Ghonim's response: "@SweetOwl proxy servers."

Google declined to confirm if Ghonim was missing but a spokeswoman e-mailed, "We care deeply about the safety of our employees, but to protect their privacy, we don't comment on the individually."

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