Several Egyptian military units headed to Saudi Arabia on Monday to take part in “Thunder of the North,” a joint military exercise involving "a number of Arab and Muslim states," according to Egypt's armed forces.
The military units participating in the exercise include ground and air forces and special forces, in addition to air defence equipment.
According to an Egyptian Armed Forces statement, the military training exercise aims to raise the technical and combat standards of the units taking part in it.
The Egyptian military's statement did not specify the number of countries participating in the exercise.
According to the Saudi-owned London newspaper Al Hayat, Jordanian troops, as well as forces from Gulf Cooperation Council member states, will also take part in "Thunder of the North".
On Dec. 15, Saudi Arabia announced it launched a Saudi-led "Islamic alliance" to fight terrorism, made up of 34 countries including Egypt. One day later, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud ordered the increase of Saudi investments in Egypt to above 30 billion Saudi riyals ($8 billion) and pledged to contribute to providing Egypt with petroleum needs for the next five years.
Egypt has enjoyed the support of Saudi Arabia, as well as of Gulf neighbours Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, since the military ouster of then-President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.
During the Egypt Development Conference held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in March 2015, Saudi Arabia pledged $4 billion in investments in and assistance for Egypt, including $1 billion which will be deposited in the Egyptian central bank, while the rest will be in the form of investments.
Egyptian forces have previously conducted joint military training exercises with Saudi forces, most notably the Morgan 14 naval exercise and the Tabuk 3 ground forces exercises.
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