CAIRO, May 4 (Aswat Masriya) - The National Defence Council of Egypt approved the continued involvement of military forces in carrying out missions outside the country as part of an Arab coalition on Sunday.
Egypt is part of the Saudi-led coalition which launched military operations against the Houthis in Yemen on March 26, after the Shia rebel movement made advances onto the Yemeni south.
A presidency statement said, the council approved a three month extension of deployment of troops previously sent to "protect Egyptian and Arabic national security in the Gulf, Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb" or until the end of the combat mission, whichever comes earlier.
This came shortly after the Egyptian cabinet also approved the three month extension.
Troops deployed by Egypt as part of the combat mission in March were initially sent on a 40-day mission, according to a presidential decree.
With the two approvals, the Egyptian mission can now be extended as per Article 152 of the constitution, which stipulates that the cabinet and defence council approve of deploying combat missions outside the country.
Egypt fears that potential Houthi control over Bab al-Mandeb lying between Yemen and the Horn of Africa would affect navigation into the Suez Canal, a strategic waterway for Egypt which brings in billions of dollars in annual revenues.
The Saudi-led coalition, which includes 10 countries in total says it is fighting the Houthi rebels at the request of the Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who called for an Arab intervention in his country.
The White House backs the Saudi-led coalition and is providing it with logistical and intelligence support. Iran, however, described it as a "breach of Yemen's sovereignty".