Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has said a newly covened Islamic counter-terrorism coalition will “pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth” to officials on Sunday.
Mohammed bin Salman, credited with forming an assertive regional policy, announced on Sunday the coalition would mean increased military, political and financial co-operation against terrorism. The alliance of 40 Islamic members comes after years of poor co-ordination amongst Muslim states, though according to the Financial Times, some fear it will cause deeper rifts between the Saudi kingdom and rival Iran.
Though the alliance was formed in 2015 under Prince bin Salman amid cries that Arab states weren’t doing enough to fight terrorism, Sunday’s meeting marked the first official meeting for the coalition. The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) consists of mostly, though not exclusively, Sunni-majority or Sunni-ruled countries. Notable exclusions include Saudi Arabia’s rival, Shiite-dominated Iran, plus Syria and Iraq (whose leaders have close ties to Tehran).
Prince bin Salman pointed comments come in the wake of Friday’s deadly bombing of a Sufi mosque in northern Sinai in Egypt. The attack killed more than 300 people, including 27 children.
“We will not allow them (terrorists) to distort our peaceful religion. Today we are sending a strong message that we are working together to fight terrorism,” Prince bin Salman said at the inaugural meeting of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition in Riyadh, Saudi-backed broadcaster Al-Arabiya reported.
“Today we affirm that we will pursue terrorism until it is eradicated completely,” Prince bin Salman said, according to Al Arabiya.