Tuesday , September 26 2017

Amir condoles UAE, Egypt battle deaths

Emirates lose pilot, soldier

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 11, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressed his sincere condolences and sorrow over the death of a soldier who was part of the Arab coalition in support of Yemeni legitimacy.

This came in a cable of condolences sent to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on Monday. His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables.

An Emirati pilot and soldier were killed in separate incidents in Yemen while taking part in a Saudi-led military campaign, the United Arab Emirates military said on Monday. First Sergeant Nasser Gharib al- Mazrouei “died of wounds” he suffered whilst fighting in Yemen, the UAE military said in statement carried by the country’s official WAM news agency. Hours later, it said pilot Sultan al- Naqbi had been “killed by a technical malfunction” on his plane.

The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen offered more details on the plane crash via Saudi Arabia’s official SPA news agency. Colonel Turki al-Maliki said the Emirati pilot had been on a reconnaissance mission Monday morning off Yemen’s Red Sea coast when his plane went down.

The UAE is playing a key role in a Saudi-led military campaign launched in 2015 to support the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi after Iran-backed Houthi rebels forced him into exile. The role of the UAE has expanded over the course of the conflict.

Last month, Emirati-trained Yemeni bespecial forces launched a major USbacked operation against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has exploited years of conflict to expand its presence in southern Yemen. Some 100 Emiratis have been killed in Yemen since the start of the Saudiled intervention.

18 officers killed in Sinai

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressed his sincere condolences and sorrow over the victims of a terrorist attack on a police convoy in the North Sinai capital of Arish. His remarks came in a cable of condolences sent to Egypt’s President Abdulfatah el-Sisi. He expressed Kuwait’s strong condemnation and denouncement of such a heinous terrorist action that targeted safe innocent lives and Egypt’s safety and stability.

His Highness also reiterated Kuwait’s firm stand against all forms and manifestations of terrorism. He also prayed to Allah Almighty to bestow mercy upon the deceased victims, and grant the injured with a swift recovery. His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables to el-Sisi. Islamic State militants ambushed the police convoy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Monday, killing 18 police and wounding seven others in one of the deadliest attacks this year in the restive region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip. Police and military officials said roadside bombs destroyed and set ablaze four armored vehicles and a fifth carrying signal-jamming equipment. The gunmen later opened fire with machine guns and commandeered a police pickup truck. Among those killed were two police lieutenants. The wounded included a police brigadier general. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on its Aamaq news agency. The attack took place about 30 kms (nearly 19 miles) west of el-Arish in northern Sinai, the epicenter of a longrunning insurgency now led by an IS affiliate.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, issued a statement confirming the incident, but its account provided no details on casualty figures or how many vehicles were destroyed. It said police traveling in the convoy fired at a car that rushed toward them, causing it to blow up and damage several of the convoy’s vehicles.

That was followed by an exchange of gunfire with “terrorist elements” hiding in the desert on both sides of the road. “That led to the martyrdom and wounding of some of the convoy’s personnel,” it cryptically added. “Reinforcements were swiftly sent, the site has been sealed off and combing operations are underway,” it said. Monday’s attack was the deadliest against security forces since July, when IS militants attacked a remote army outpost in the border town of Rafah, killing 23 soldiers.

That was the deadliest attack in two years. In March, the military said militants killed 10 soldiers during an army raid in Sinai’s central region. Egypt has battled militants in Sinai for years, but the insurgency became far more deadly after the 2013 military ouster of Mohammed Morsi, an elected Islamist president. It has since waged a number of high-profile attacks on the mainland, including areas near Egypt’s porous and desert border with Libya. Egypt maintains that militants attacking its security forces and minority Christians sneak into the country across the border with Libya carrying weapons.

In recent years there has also been a wave of attacks, mainly targeting security forces, blamed on splinter factions of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group. Monday’s attack came a day after authorities said they had busted a militant cell planning attacks in Cairo. Police said they killed 10 militants in two simultaneous raids on apartments in a densely populated Cairo neighborhood.

They said the militants sneaked into the capital from northern Sinai, but did not say whether they were members of the IS group. President el-Sisi pointed to the importance of military cooperation between Egypt and the US to the fight against terror in the wake of the continuation of a joint military exercise. In a statement on Monday, his spokesman Alaa Yousef quoted el-Sisi as underlining the importance of the biennial US-Egypt military exercise, Bright Star 2017, amid current regional circumstances.

These circumstances require the doubling of efforts to combat challenges that threaten the security and stability of the region and the world, he said. The exercise began on Sunday at Egypt’s northern Mediterranean base, Mohamed Naguib, and ends on Sept 20, with the participation of some 200 US military personnel.

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