Saudi announces Islamic anti-terrorism military block
According to a joint statement, Qatar, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Gulf Arab states and African Islamic states are part of the coalition aimed at protecting Islamic countries from terrorist groups and organizations irrespective of their sect and origin.
Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Salman told reporters in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, the coalition of Islamic countries would initially take steps to coordinate and accelerate efforts against terrorist networks in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and Iran are not in the coalition.
The United States has asked the Arab and Gulf states to do more in the fight against Daesh, but the Saudi defence minister said the Islamic State would not be the only target.
Prince Mohammad said the international community had already launched military offensive against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq where they could not interfere by their own. He said their coalition would not be merely against Daesh but would fight insurgents who took weapons and challenged the writ of members’ states.
A joint operations centre is to be established in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, state media reported. "This comes from the Islamic world's vigilance in fighting this disease [Islamic extremism] which has damaged the Islamic world," Prince Mohammed said. "Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually... so co-ordinating efforts is very important."
The SPA state news agency said 10 other "Islamic countries" had expressed support, including Indonesia. Prince Mohammed said: "These countries have procedures to go through before joining the coalition, but out of keenness to achieve this coalition as soon as possible, [the alliance of] 34 countries has been announced."
In announcing the coalition, SPA stated that Islam forbids "corruption and destruction in the world" and that terrorism represents "a serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security".
Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led coalition against IS and is also leading a military intervention in Yemen against Shia Houthi rebels.
The list of 34 members: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Chad, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinians, Qatar, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
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