Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has announced that the formation of a joint Arab military force had been agreed by Arab leaders at the Arab League summit in Egypt.

The announcement, on 29 March, came following a two-day Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheikh. The proposed voluntary force would intervene in conflicts in Arab states at the request of their governments.

Al-Sisi revealed that a high-level panel would work under the supervision of Arab chiefs of staff to define the structure and mechanisms of the force. Egyptian officials were reported in international press reports as stating that the proposed force would be made up of roughly 40,000 elite troops and backed by jets, warships and light armour.

The proposal comes as Arab military forces are cooperating with Saudi Arabia in its airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Of the 76 allied fighter jets deployed, 30 fighter jets have been contributed by the UAE, according to the local news service Al-Arabiya. According to the reports, Kuwait and Bahrain have deployed 15 planes each, while Qatar has deployed 10 and Jordan has deployed six. Pakistan and Egypt are also contributing air and naval forces.

Saudi Arabia itself has deployed 100 fighter jets and amassed 150,000 soldiers in preparation for a ground offensive.

Saudi Arabia’s state news agency reported that the airstrikes had successfully destroyed Houthi air power, and that it had gained control of Yemen’s airspace by 28 March.

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