Egypt opens naval base, latest example of military build-up

CAIRO — Egypt’s president inaugurated a new naval base on the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, the latest example of the government’s military build-up.

The base is meant to “secure the country’s northern and western front… and the maritime shipping routes,” according to a statement by Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s office.

The inauguration, aired on state TV, was also attended by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Mohammed al-Menfi, head of Libya’s ruling presidential council.

The base is located in the Gargoub area, around 255 kilometers (160 miles) west of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

The base is named after the date July 3, 2013 — the day when el-Sissi, as a defense minister, led the military’s overthrow of an elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, amid nationwide protests against his divisive rule.

Egypt has in recent years modernized its military, purchasing sophisticated weapons and opening bases across the nation.

In 2017, Egypt opened a military base in the country’s northwestern province of Marsa Matrouh. It said the base, named after late President Mohammed Naguib, an Egyptian army officer who became the country’s first president in 1950s, is the largest in the Middle East.