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Largest military base in Middle East opens
July 23, 2017, 8:47 am
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Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed and Al Sissi attend inauguration ceremony

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi on Saturday inaugurated a major military base as the country is grappling with militant violence.

The base in Egypt’s north-west province of Mersa Matruh has 1,155 facilities, making it the largest in the Middle East and Africa, according to state media.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was among several Arab dignitaries who attended the event. 

Addressing an inaugural ceremony, Al Sissi said that Egypt is a peace-loving country, but vowed no let-up  in combatting terrorism.

“We will not tolerate with those who finance terrorism with billions of dollars and kill our people,” he added in the televised address.

Last month, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain severed diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for terrorism.

Egypt has experienced a spate of deadly attacks since the army’s 2013 toppling of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi following massive street protests.

Authorities blamed the violence on Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which is staunchly backed by Qatar.

“What you are doing will go unpunished,” Al Sissi said Saturday without naming Qatar. “Egypt will remain too resilient to bow to threats of terror and those who stand behind it. Egypt is strong with its army, police, thinkers and its entire people,” he added.

The inauguration of the base featured graduation of 10 batches from Egypt’s different military academies. 

The base is named after Mohammad Najib, Egypt’s first president, who ruled the country for several months after he and other army officers toppled the monarchy in 1952.

Semi-official newspaper Al Ahram reported that the base is Egypt’s first integrated military installation.

 It houses 72 advanced training fields for different combat corpses, two residential complexes for military personnel and a convention centre seating around 1,600 people.

The base, replacing an old facility, is aimed at enhancing the army’s capability to protect a vast area of Egypt, including a planned nuclear plant, and oil fields and the country’s western border with troubled Libya.

Since taking office in 2014, Al Sissi, an ex-defence minister, has shown interest in enhancing the country’s defence resources.

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