Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and the United States kicked off on Monday a joint drill aimed at bolstering regional maritime security.
Naval and air forces from the three countries will take part in the “Eagle Salute – Eagle Response 2019” exercise, taking place in the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia is participating as an observer, said Egypt’s military spokesman.
The exercise will take place over several days and is part of a series of drills held between Egypt and friendly and fraternal countries, he added in a Facebook post.
The “Eagle Salute – Eagle Response 2019” exercise includes training on the removal of marine mines and explosives. A number of F-16 fighter jets will also be involved.
The drill is taking place amid high tensions in the region over Iran’s seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz last week. Tehran’s capture of the vessel came two weeks after British authorities seized an Iranian tanker off its overseas territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of breaching EU sanctions against Syria against a backdrop of brinkmanship between Washington and Tehran.
Washington and Tehran have been at loggerheads since May 2018, when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from a landmark 2015 deal that put curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.