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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has refuted reports that forces from Pakistan and Egypt have been deployed along the kingdom’s northern border to defend it from IS militants.

Saudi National Guard Minister Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz said the kingdom’s security forces were more than capable of dealing with any cross-border terrorist threats, denying reports that troops from friendly Muslim countries had been deployed on its borders.

“It would be better for them [terrorist organisations] not to approach Saudi Arabia’s borders and if they opt to do so they will really suffer,” the minister said according to a report carried by Saudi Press Agency.

Addressing a press conference in the northern city of Arar, Prince Miteb denied reports that Egyptian and Pakistani forces had been deployed to defend Saudi Arabia’s border with Iraq.

“We have very good relations with Egypt and Pakistan but the reports about the presence of their forces in the kingdom are not true . . . We in Saudi Arabia have the capabilities to defend our lands,” he said.

“The kingdom’s military strength has reached 27 million, which is the population of the country including soldiers and ordinary citizens. Every citizen in the kingdom is a soldier and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has stated he will be in [the] forefront to defend the nation,” Prince Miteb added.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2014