January 14, 2016 / 2:45 PM / 2 years ago

Egypt extends participation in Yemen conflict

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s national defense council on Thursday extended its military’s participation in a Saudi-led operation in Yemen for up to one year, the presidency said in a statement.

Egypt is part of a Saudi-led coalition that has been targeting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since March of last year. Nearly 6,000 people are known to have died in the conflict, about half of them civilians, according to U.N. figures.

“The national defense council agreed to extend the participation of the required elements from the Egyptian armed forces in a combat operation outside the nation’s border to defend Egyptian and Arab national security in the Gulf, the Red Sea and the Strait of Mandeb,” the statement said.

Egypt authorized a 40-day mandate in March for participation in the Yemen conflict, extended it for three months in May, for six months in August, and finally on Thursday for a year.

The Houthis and Yemen’s embattled government agreed last month on a broad framework for ending their war in U.N.-brokered peace talks, but a temporary truce was widely violated and has since ended.

Egypt is also part of a broader 34-state Islamic military coalition against militants announced by Saudi Arabia in December.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Lin Noueihed and Andrew Heavens

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