Saudi Arabia will host a high-powered meeting of the defense chiefs of the anti-Islamic State coalition here on Wednesday. The meeting, to be attended by military chiefs, group commanders and chiefs of staff from the 22 countries in the US-led coalition, will discuss ways and means to combat the IS, possibly deploy troops and expand attacks on IS targets across the region.
“The meeting, to be coordinated by the Saudi Ministry of Defense, will discuss the overall situation regarding the IS terror group,” said an official source on condition of anonymity, here Monday. Major Western countries including the US, France, Britain and Germany will participate in the consultation that will go a long way in mapping out a new strategy to combat IS and its influence.
“Germany will be represented by Lt. Gen. Peter Schelzig, vice chief of defense,” said Michael Ohnmacht, deputy head of the German mission. “Britain and Turkey will also participate the Riyadh meeting,” confirmed local diplomats. Necdet Ozel, Turkish chief of staff, and the chief of New Zealand Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Tim Keating, will be traveling to Riyadh to attend the meeting.
There will also be substantial participation on the regional level. Lebanese Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi will take part in the meeting. “The meeting will be a good opportunity to receive updates on the situation and to make new plans,” said a Western diplomat, pointing to the fact that the coalition is gaining on one front and losing ground on another as far as fight against IS is concerned.
The ISIS, of late, has shown its real face by indulging in bloodbath in different countries where it has its presence. The killing of 21 Egyptian workers in Libya is its latest act of genocide. Egypt’s Air Force bombed ISIS targets in Libya at dawn on Monday, a day after the militant group released a video purporting to show the execution of the Egyptian workers.
It was the first time Egypt confirmed launching airstrikes against the group in neighboring Libya, showing President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi is ready to take the fight to IS. A Libyan Air Force commander said between 40 and 50 militants were killed in the attack. “There are casualties among individuals, ammunition and (ISIS) communication centers,” Saqer Al-Joroushi told Egyptian state television. According to the Pentagon, coalition bombs have killed more than 6,000 ISIS fighters since the campaign began in late 2014.

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