File Photo: Egyptian US-made F16 fighter jet (Photo: courtesy of the Egyptian Defence Ministry)
Egypt's navy and air forces are participating in a Saudi-led joint regional military operation to halt the advance of Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen, Egypt's presidency announced on Thursday in a statement.
Saudi Arabia and regional allies carried out airstrikes against Houthi rebel sites in the Yemeni capital Sanaa early on Thursday, after Zaidi Houthi fighters on Wednesday stormed the southern coastal city of Aden, refuge to Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi since he fled the rebel-controlled capital last month.
Egypt's military participation "through elements of the Egyptian air and navy forces" aims to support the Saudi-led regional coalition to restore stability in Yemen "under legitimate leadership", according to the Egyptian presidency's statement.
"Based on Egypt's responsibility towards Arab national security of the Gulf and the Red Sea region...it was necessary for Egypt to bear its responsibility," the Egyptian presidency statement read.
It said that the move came in response to "demands by the Yemeni people for restoring stability and preserving its Arab identity."
The Egyptian foreign ministry said earlier on Thursday that Egypt was "providing political and military support" to the Saudi-led operation in Yemen.
Sudan and Jordan have confirmed that have joined Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in the Saudi-led military coalition, while Saudi Arabia has said that Pakistan and Morocco would also join.
Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers meeting in Egypt onThursday agreed to form a joint military force to combat growing security threats in the region, the Arab League's chief said.