Egypt, US conclude first military exercise held after year of suspension

Ahram Online , Thursday 12 Oct 2017

The drills took place between 10 and 20 September at the new Mohamed Naguib military base

Joint US-Egyptian military exercises, which have resumed for the first time since 2009, concluded in Egypt on Wednesday in a ceremony attended by Egypt's Chief-of-Staff Mahmoud Hegazy and acting US Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Thomas Goldberg.

The Bright Star military exercise is normally held every two years, but was cancelled in 2011 following the popular uprising that overthrew Egypt’s longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

The drills, which took place between 10 and 20 September at the new Mohamed Naguib military base west of Alexandria, involved reconnaissance operations, aerial bombing by multi-purpose fighter jets, destroying targets using anti-tank helicopters, and armoured vehicle exercises using live ammunition, a statement by the Egyptian military said.

Hegazy said the resumption of the drills reflects "the depth of the ties between Egypt and the United States, mainly in the military field."

US Army central deputy commander Terrence J. McKenrick said during a press conference at the military base that the continuation of the exercises provides an opportunity to restart military cooperation between the two states in the fight against terrorism.

Hegazy said at the press conference that "we have the will, the determination and the potential to root out terrorism, which is threatening the region and people around the world," adding that joint military exercises deliver a "message of reassurance" to the Egyptian people

"Joint exercises help transfer and exchange experience between countries," Hegazy said, adding that he looks forward to "further joint cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries."

Egypt and the US started holding the Bright Star drills regularly in 1981.

Egypt is one of Washington’s key allies in the Middle East, with US President Donald Trump and Egyptian President El-Sisi repeatedly vowing to work together in the fight against terrorism.

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