Riyadh: Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday the arrival of troops of 19 of its ally countries, who will participate in the Ra'ad Al-Shamal (Thunder of the North) military manoeuvres - "the largest and most important military manoeuvre in the history of the region".
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the manoeuvres will be carried out at King Khalid Military City in Hafr Al-Batin in northern Saudi Arabia.
Countries participating include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Sudan, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Comoros, Djibouti, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania, Mauritius, in addition to the Peninsula shield forces.
According to SPA, the manoeuvres are considered as "the largest of its kind in terms of the number of countries with the participation of 20 Arab, Islamic and friendly countries".
The "Thunder of the North" exercise involving ground, air, and naval forces sends a "clear message" that Riyadh and its allies "stand united in confronting all challenges and preserving peace and stability in the region", SPA said.
Riyadh announced last December the creation of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism, which consists of 34 countries, many of which are included in the current exercises. However this military coalition has not been materialised yet.