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Egypt, US eye deeper counter-terrorism ties

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi voiced hopes for deeper counter-terrorism ties with the United States during talks with a top Washington general on Monday, following a fatal weekend attack in the Sinai Peninsula. The attack was claimed by Islamic State (IS) jihadists who killed 11 Egyptian troops. It was one of the deadliest attacks in recent years in the northern Sinai, a hotbed for jihadist activity.

US Army General Michael Kurilla, who oversees US forces in the Middle East, said the attack underscored the persistent threat from extremists. “I offered my condolences and my view of the ISIS threat,” said Kurilla following the talks in Cairo.

Sisi’s office noted that terrorism was the foremost challenge to Egypt’s security and stability, and required “collective efforts to combat it.” A senior US military official said Sisi and other Egyptian officials sought a deeper counter-terrorism relationship in meetings with Kurilla.

The official added that Kurilla offered to send US Rear Adm Mitchell Bradley, who heads US special operations in the Middle East, to Egypt for “guidance and assistance.” Since 2018, the Egyptian military expanded its control of coastal areas between the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal, allowing for a return of some civilian activity and the development of infrastructure. However, sporadic attacks continue with IS militants seeking refuge in desert expanses south of the coast, using tactics from sniping to planting explosives.

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