Saudi completes ‘North Thunder’ military training with 20 countries

Published March 8th, 2016 - 02:00 GMT
A member of the Saudi military stands at attention. (AFP/File)
A member of the Saudi military stands at attention. (AFP/File)

Spokesman of Coalition Forces, Advisor at Defense Minister’s Office, Brigadier Ahmed bin Hassan Al-Asiri said that North Thunder military drill is currently held in Hafr-el-Batin in northern Saudi Arabia; where 20 Arab and Islamic countries are participating in order to ensure the readiness of their armed forces.

During a conference held on Monday at the Northern Command at King Khalid Military Base in Hafr-el-Batin, Brigadier Al-Asiri said that the military forces participating in the North Thunder drill include Arab, Islamic and friend countries as well as the Peninsula Shield, led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the fields of King Khalid Military City in Hafr-el-Batin.

“The drill includes helicopters and fighter jets targeting areas where ground forces engage with terrorist elements, in addition to saving members of the joint forces trapped in hostile areas, and clearing all enemy areas,” Al-Asiri added.

He stressed the importance of the military exercises in determining the readiness of the forces that aim at deterring all aspects affecting the security of participating countries in addition to fighting extremist militias and elements in the region.

Al-Asiri pointed out that the conference aims at giving a clear image of the military drill.

Brigadier Al-Asiri said that Saudi Arabia is the theater of North Thunder drill, noting that the arrival of troops to the theater of operations needs an organization of time, transportation means, ports and airports.

Al-Asiri also said that Dammam, Duba, and Jeddah ports, King Khalid Military City, King Saud Airbase, Riyadh Airport, and road networks were used by military forces to reach the theater of operations.

The adviser at the Minister of Defense’s office stated that the exercise and maneuvers carried out in North Thunder were carried out over a wide area to give experiences to the troops in mixed environments including four cities; Hafr-el-Batin, Rafha, Arar and Tarif.

Unprecedented and sophisticated methods of war tactics were applied using state of art land, sea and air weapons and equipment.

He pointed out the success of the military operations carried out by all participating troops in continued exercises, including different times and geographical places in order to raise the readiness of their members and find out how efficient the diverse military mechanisms are.

The military operations, he added, are also carried out to test the infrastructure of the host country of these joint exercises by the forces and its receiving of the large number of troops and military vehicles through its land, air and sea ports.

He pointed out that the exercises that have been carried out since the beginning of the maneuvers were designed to address and deter militias and terrorist elements and to reach the two phases of compatibility and integration among the participating countries’ forces through exchange of military experience among them.

Then, Brigadier Ahmed bin Hassan Al-Asiri answered reporters’ questions, noting that the North Thunder has specific targets and should not be confused with what has been previously declared by Saudi Arabia with regard to the Islamic coalition to fight terrorism.

He stressed that the Islamic coalition to fight terrorism was announced by the Deputy Crown Prince, and it was clarified to the media that there are steps and a roadmap for the creation of the coalition.

“As we approach the conference of chiefs of joint staff and then the defense ministers’ conference and then, the Islamic coalition will be announced,” said Al-Asiri.

“We have already stated the names of the countries that have joined it and the countries that are still considering joining, noting that North Thunder has goals serving the objectives of the Islamic coalition to fight terrorism and that a large part of the countries participating in North Thunder are members of the future Islamic coalition,” he added.

He pointed out the presence of air and ground forces in the military operations that defeated the enemy and expelled it from the sites that were supposed to be occupied; so the exercise’s hypothesis included the expansion of the exercise area serving the presence of large numbers of ground forces.

By Abdollah Al- Haida


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