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Egypt receives new US-made missile boat

The S. Ezzat missile ship is named after a famed Egyptian naval commander

Ahram Online , Wednesday 20 Nov 2013
Sulleiman Ezzat
Sulleiman Ezzat, (16 April, 1910 – 25 July 1970) was the first commander of Egypt's navy after the 1952 revolution (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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An American-made missile boat was delivered to Egypt on Tuesday, the first in an instalment of four ships Egypt is due to receive from the US.

The ship, named the S. Ezzat, is the first of four fast missile crafts (FMCs) – the F. Zekry, the M. Fahmy and the A. Gad – of the Ambassador III class to be delivered later in 2013 and in 2014, according to US military news website DefenseNews.

The US halted hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment and aid, part of an annual $1.3bn package, “pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government” according to a State Department statement. The move followed the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Defense News quoted Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Speaks saying that while the US has halted other deliveries of military aid to Egypt, including F-16 jet fighters, AH-64 Apache helicopters, and M1 Abrams tanks, other transfers would remain unhindered.

"Some programmes...have been allowed to go ahead, particularly those helping Egypt to uphold peace treaty obligations with Israel, and assets to fight counterterrorism and security in Sinai," DefenseNews said.

Speaks told the website that the S. Ezzat's Egyptian officers have been in the US receiving US Navy training since July.

The missile boats will be used for the defence of Egypt's strategic Suez Canal, the website reported.

The S. Ezzat was named after late navy commander Suleiman Ezzat, viewed in military circles as the "father" of today's Egyptian navy.

Ezzat, who died in 1970, was the first commander of Egypt's navy after the 1952 revolution and one of its founders. He was removed from his post after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, one day after army chief-of-staff Abdel-Hakim Amer, whom Ezzat was close to, resigned his post following the Egyptian army's defeat.

The decorated chief admiral also took part in an Egyptian naval attack on Israel in 1949, months after Israeli commandos sunk the Egyptian navy's flagship the Emir Farouk off the coast of Gaza in October 1948.

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