News Briefs – January 15, 2016

Egypt renews combat deployment in Red Sea, Gulf for a year

Egypt says it has renewed for another year its “combat” military deployment in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf regions.
The Jan. 14 statement, like similar past ones, does not specify the number of troops or military assets Egypt is deploying in the two strategic regions.
Egypt is known to have deployed warships in the Red Sea near its southern entrance, Bab al-Mandab, as part of a Saudi-led alliance fighting Iranian-backed Shiite rebels and supporters of a former president in Yemen. The alliance began a campaign of airstrikes in Yemen in March last year.
Troops from several members of the alliance are fighting the rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies on the ground in parts of Yemen alongside forces loyal to the internationally recognized government and its allies. AP

Australia resists US pressure to boost efforts against IS

Australia says it is among 40 countries urged by the United States to increase their military contribution in Iraq and Syria following the Paris attacks in November. But Australia has told the U.S. that its commitment would remain largely unchanged.
The news comes Jan. 14 as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prepares to make his first visit to Washington as Australia’s leader next week.
Defense Minister Marise Payne’s office said in a statement that U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter had asked 40 countries “to consider expanded contributions” to the U.S.-led coalition fighting in the Middle East after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
But Australia has offered no significant increase in resources. AP

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