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Might of Egyptian Air Force 'Under Threat' After Italian Senate's Decision

Sputnik News

20:29 30.06.2016(updated 00:08 01.07.2016)

The Italian Senate on Wednesday night passed an amendment to the draft law on military missions, according to which the deliveries of spare parts for F-16 fighter jets to Egypt would be suspended.

This was the first serious step of the Italian Parliament toward Egypt following the murder case of an Italian graduate student, Giulio Regeni, in January this year in Cairo.

Retired Egyptian army General, Abdel Rafe Darwish, spoke to Sputnik in an interview saying that the decision can be "dangerous for Egypt."

"This is a very dangerous decision for Egypt, which has a direct impact on the military might of the military aviation as spare parts have a certain life span, after which they cannot be used. Hence, they must be continuously supplied to ensure the normal functioning of F-16 fighters," the general said.

According to him, in order to prevent such crises, the Egyptian officers have repeatedly called on their government to purchase arms from different sources. Due to the lack of diversity in the arms market of the Egyptian Army, some countries have leverage over Egypt.

"If we received weapons from different countries, we would not have to depend on a single party in matters of arms and spare parts," the general said.

The tensions between both the countries have been rising since the body of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old who was pursuing a PhD at Cambridge, was found in a ditch in the suburbs outside Cairo, nine days after he disappeared on January 25.

While Regeni was known to be an academic researcher, the Italian news agency Ansa reported that he also wrote about his work on Egyptian labor unions for Il Manifesto, the Italian communist newspaper. Ansa reported that he used a pseudonym because he was concerned for his safety.

His work for Il Manifesto was confirmed by Simone Pieranni, the newspaper's foreign editor, who said it would be publishing Regeni's previous works on Friday, including a piece written shortly before his death, online newspaper The Guardian reported.

Furthermore, there were reports of torture marks on the victim's body. His death resulted in diplomatic tensions between Italy and Egypt because the Italian side claimed that Egypt was not doing enough to investigate the torture and murder of the Italian student.


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