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Russia, Egypt to hold joint drills in mid-October

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo shows Russian flagship missile cruiser Moskva as it patrols the Mediterranean Sea on December 17, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has announced plans to hold joint drills with Egyptian forces in Egypt in mid-October.

"The joint Russian-Egyptian drills will happen in mid-October 2016 on the territory of Egypt," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Protectors of Friendship-2016 military exercises will include 500 troops, 15 planes and helicopters and 10 military hardware units, the ministry said.

"The airborne delivery by parachute of several Russian airborne troops' combat vehicles to the desert climate of Egypt will occur for the first time in history," the ministry said.

It described the exercises as a review of "anti-terrorist" operations. However, it refrained from giving the exact locations, date and duration of the drills.

Last year, Russia and Egypt held their first-ever joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.

The photo shows Egyptian soldiers marching on the bank of the Suez Canal during a ceremony on August 6, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

In late February, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said a Russian plane that had crashed in the country’s Sinai desert in October 2015 had been downed by those seeking to harm Egypt's tourism industry and ties with Moscow.

On October 31, an Airbus A321, run by Russia’s Kogalymavia airline, crashed in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all the 224 people on board, mostly Russians.

On November 17, 2015, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) said the plane had been brought down by a bomb, confirming speculations that the crash had been a terrorist act.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, endorsing the FSB’s investigation, vowed to punish the perpetrators of the attack.

“We will search for them anywhere they might hide. We will find them in any part of the world and punish them,” the Russian president said at the time.

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