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US counterterrorism head arrives in Cairo

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US delegation including counterterrorism head and Joint Special Forces commander arrives in Cairo to discuss security issues with Egyptian government

High level US government security officials arrived in Cairo on Sunday to meet with Egypt’s government to discuss regular security cooperation between the two nations.

Matthew Olsen, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and Lieutenant General Joseph Votel, commander of the US Joint Special Forces Command, headed the delegation, according to the US Embassy in Cairo, which also added that the visit had been planned well ahead of time.

The NCTC oversees national and international counterterrorism efforts and is a child agency of the Director of National Intelligence, a high-level US government official serving as principal advisor to the president, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council.

The Joint Special Forces Command is responsible for planning and conducting special operations, including those involving drones, notably in Yemen in September 2011, in an operation targeting prominent al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki.

A delegation headed by US Senator John McCain had visited Cairo earlier this month and placed an emphasis on security in Sinai, pledging to provide help to secure the peninsula, while stressing that the security of Israel was a major US priority.

Sinai stands as a volatile region in the country, and has witnessed attacks on police and the army by radical groups since the revolution in 2011.

The security situation and the presence of these groups in Sinai have been of major concern to Egypt’s Israel and the United States.


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