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Security, IS top agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Leaders discuss countries’ plans concerning reconstruction of Iraq after eradicating IS in Iraqi cities
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, left, shakes hands with Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi in Cairo on Saturday (AFP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt's support for efforts to tackle Islamic State (IS) group militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October, AFP reported.

In a shared news conference, Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi called upon the international community to fight the phenomenon of militants moving from war-stricken states to neighbouring countries in the Middle East, EgyptToday reported.

Terrorism should be eradicated using comprehensive confrontation, including fighting those who supply terrorists with money and arms, the Egyptian president said. Sisi also announced that a tripartite summit among Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq will convene on Monday.

Mahdi highlighted "the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism" and said "cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter," according to an official statement.

His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured IS's last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.

Though the defeat ends the group's grip over the territory that it took in 2014, IS remains a threat.

Some IS militants still hold out in Syria's remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.

US authorities think the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.

Both leaders discussed the two countries’ plan concerning reconstruction of Iraq, particularly after eradicating IS in Iraqi cities, Sisi said, noting that Egypt will participate in Iraq’s reconstruction amid the presence of Egyptian businessmen in Iraqi markets and in light of Egypt’s latest national megaprojects.