Bright Star war drills: Egypt hosting troops from 33 countries

First held in 1980, the exercises will involve air, naval and ground assets in the desert of north-west Egypt

Egyptian Special Operations Forces take part in the multinational Bright Star 21 exercises at the Mohamed Naguib Military Base in north-west Egypt. US Army
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Troops from 33 countries are gathering in Egypt for two weeks of war drills starting on Thursday that will involve air, ground and naval assets.

The military exercises, code-named Bright Star, were first held in 1980, a time when the war games were meant in part to underline Egypt's then-nascent alliance with the United States after decades of close ties with the Soviet Union.

Initially involving only Egyptian and American troops, the biennial drills were expanded to include more countries, mostly Nato members and US allies outside the organisation.

Officials said this year's drills will involve live ammunition, stimulated counter-terrorism operations, carving out and protecting safe corridors in war zones, as well as medical evacuations.

India will take part in the drills to take place in the desert in north-western Egypt for the first time, sending five jet fighters.

The other countries taking part are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, UK, Germany, Jordan, Iraq, Sudan, Cyprus, Greece, Morocco, Kenya, Italy, Spain, France, Tanzania, Nigeria, Tunisia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Australia, Algeria, Qatar, Mali, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Nigeria.

Israel is participating only as an observer, the officials said.

The Bright Star drills were last held in 2021 with the participation of 21 nations.

Updated: August 29, 2023, 10:54 AM