Cairo – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for intensifying international efforts to dry up the sources of terrorism and stop countries supporting terrorism from funding or arming terrorist groups.
During his meeting with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Cairo, the Egyptian president underlined the strong US-Egyptian relations, stressing his country’s keenness on boosting bilateral ties.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Army announced on Thursday killing 23 militants from Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, including a top leader, in airstrikes launched against the group in Central and North Sinai.
It said in a statement Thursday that the strikes in northern and central Sinai on “terrorist strongholds” of the local ISIS group affiliate also destroyed four vehicles.
According to the statement, the leader was the head of the Sharia committee in the group and was responsible for interrogations. The strikes launched by the Egyptian Air Forces have also damaged four vehicles owned by the terrorist group.
The announcement comes a day after police said they killed one of the militants involved in an attack on a checkpoint that killed a policeman near south Sinai’s Saint Catherine’s Monastery earlier this week.
Back to Cairo, Presidential Spokesperson Alaa Youssef said Sisi and Mattis discussed the special and strategic ties binding the two countries, with the Egyptian president affirming Egypt’s keenness to strengthen cooperation under the new administration of US President Donald Trump.
For his part, Mattis expressed Washington’s desire to push cooperation between the two countries to new levels in order to overcome unprecedented challenges facing the region.
The US defense secretary emphasized Egypt’s pivotal role in the Middle East and in settling disputes in the region, as well as the country’s counter-terrorism efforts.
The US Defense Secretary’s visit to Cairo is part of a tour aimed at reaffirming key US military alliances, engaging with strategic partners in the region, and discussing cooperative efforts to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations, according to a statement from the Pentagon.