Egypt attack to boost Muslim military alliance supported by Saudi Arabia: crown prince


RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said on Sunday that an attack on an Egyptian mosque that killed more than 300 worshipers would galvanize an Islamic military coalition that sought to counter terrorism and terrorism. extremism".

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman (C) poses for a photograph with cabinet chiefs and defense ministers of an Islamic military coalition against terrorism led by Saudi Arabia during their meeting in Riyadh on November 26, 2017 REUTERS / Faisal Al Nbader

The main defense officials of most of the ethnic groups in Riyadh were held in June of a reunited alliance between Prince Mohammed in the presence of Deputy Minister of Defense

. The crown prince has said he would encourage a more moderate and tolerant version of Islam in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Prince Mohamed told delegates that Friday's attack on Egypt "was a very painful event and should make us contemplate internationally and powerfully the role of this terrorism and extremism."

Gunmen with the Islamic State flag attacked the mosque in northern Sinai.

The group of Muslim nations, called the Military Coalition against Islamic Terrorism, has not yet taken any decisive action.

Officials say the group would allow members to request or offer mutual help to fight the militants. This could include military aid, financial aid, equipment or safety experience. The group, which will have a permanent base in Riyadh, would also help fight the financing and ideology of terrorism.

"The greatest threat of terrorism and extremism is not only to kill innocent people and spread hatred, but to tarnish the reputation of our religion and distort our belief," Prince Mohammed told officials from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, attends the meeting of defense ministers of the Military Coalition against Terrorism in Riyadh on November 26, 2017. REUTERS / Faisal Al Nbader

Iraq and Syria, leading the battle against the non-member Islamic State, nor is it mainly Shiite Muslim from Iran, the regional rival of mostly Sunni Saudi Arabia.

Qatar, which was originally part of the alliance, was not invited to Sunday's meeting after Riyadh led a group of states seeking to isolate Doha, saying it supported terrorism. Doha denies this.

Abdulelah al-Saleh, a Saudi general lieutenant and general secretary of the coalition, said that Qatar was excluded to help build a consensus for the launch of operations. He also said the group did not aim to create a Sunni bloc to counter Iran.

"The enemy is terrorism, they are not sects, religions or races, it is terrorism," Saleh told reporters.

Saleh said that military initiatives had been proposed to the group's ministerial council, but he did not elaborate.

Despite agreement on principles, members expressed different priorities at the meeting. The delegation of Yemen said that the focus should be Iran, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, while Turkey called for the "support of our friends" against the Kurdish separatists.

Critics say the coalition could become a means for Saudi Arabia to implement an even more badertive foreign policy by winning the backing of the poorest African and Asian nations with offers of financial and military aid.

In addition to leading a diplomatic indictment against Qatar, Saudi Arabia also leads a war against the Houthi rebels aligned with Iran in its neighbor Yemen,

Saleh said that Riyadh would pay the 400 million riyals ($ 107 million) of the new coalition center, but said that other nations could offer financial support for specific initiatives.

Additional reports by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Edited by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Edmund Blair

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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