Egypt may send 40,000 troops to Yemen

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A Saudi general has stepped back from previous comments he made claiming that Egypt had offered to send up to 40,000 ground troops to Yemen to fight in the war-torn country.

Ahmed Asiri said that he meant Egyptian involvement as a part of the Arab League's joint military force, not the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, New Arab reported.

"I was speaking about a previous suggestion made by Egypt during discussions on forming the joint Arab force at the Arab League," Asiri told Egyptian state media.

"It had nothing to do with taking part in Yemen," he added.

On Sunday, Asiri confirmed that Egyptian naval and air forces were currently taking part in the Saudi-led operation in Yemen.

In January, Egypt's national defense council extended the military's participation in the war in Yemen for an unspecified period of time.

An unnamed Egyptian official told local media on Monday that Egypt has never offered to send ground forces to Yemen.

"Saudi Arabia had asked Egypt to send ground troops but we said a definite 'no' on this matter. This is one of the main reasons for the recent dispute between the two countries," the official said.

Sisi met Saudi King Salman last month on the sidelines of the Arab League summit in Jordan, breaking the ice after months of tensions between the longtime allies.

The Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen since March 2015.

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