Egyptian-Arab military exercises commence in Saudi Arabia
Ahram Online, , Sunday 21 Feb 2016
Military units from over 20 Arab and Islamic countries are participating in the exercises with the aim of increasing cooperation between members of the Arab Coalition

Egypt's army spokesperson said in a Facebook statement on Satuday that “Thunder of the North,” the “largest military exercise witnessed in the region” has started in Saudi Arabia.

The exercises include Egyptian and Saudi ground and air forces along with military units from over 20 Arab and Islamic countries.

The exercise is meant to increase coordination between Egyptian and Saudi Armed Forces and Arab Coalition countries by exchanging expertise and improving skills in order to achieve the highest level of combat efficiency.

The statement says that the exercise aims to "formulate the main characteristics of building joint Arab defensive security for coalition members by uniting visions of the region's security questions.”

Egypt is the second largest contributor to Thunder of the North after Saudi Arabia in terms of forces and “participating specialisations,” Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said.

Since the troops arrived, they have attended “theoretical and practical lectures on topics and exercises” that will be covered in Thunder of the North.

Egyptian Armed Forces were deployed in March 2015 to the Gulf, the Red Sea, and Bab Al-Mandab strait as part of their participation in the Saudi-led coalition targeting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Egypt’s deployment was extended in January one more year or until the end of their mission.