JERUSALEM, Israel – Two days after a terror attack on an Egyptian mosque killed more than 300, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman told senior officials from 40 Muslim-majority nations that together they can defeat terrorism.
At Sunday's meeting of the Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition, which describes itself as a "pan-Islamic united front," Prince Mohammed said they must coordinate resources to defeat "terrorism and extremism."
Senior officials from largely Sunni-majority countries gathered two days after Friday's devastating attack. These countries are part of an alliance formed by the prince in 2015.
Defense ministers and senior representatives from Egypt, Afghanistan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Lebanon, Somalia, Mauritania, Libya, Yemen and Turkey were among the attendees.
While acknowledging that "terrorism has been functioning in all our countries," Prince Mohammed, who also serves as Saudi's defense minister, said, "This ends today with this alliance," AFP reported.
Friday's attack, he said, "must make us contemplate in an international and powerful way the role of this terrorism and extremism," Reuters quoted the prince as saying.
"The biggest threat from terrorism and extremism is not only killing innocent people and spreading hate, but tarnishing the reputation of our religion and distorting our belief," he said, according to the report.
Noticeably absent from Sunday's gathering were representatives from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Qatar.
But despite their absence, Saudi Gen. Abdulelah al-Saleh said "inclusion" is the coalition's "pillar."
"Our common enemy is terrorism," he said, "not any religion, sect or races. It's terrorism."
Saudi Arabia has also taken the lead in speaking out against Iranian-backed Houthi jihadists in Yemen. Earlier this month, the Saudi military intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Houthi rebels at its international airport.
Pakistani Gen. (ret.) Raheel Sharif said the purpose of the coalition is "to mobilize and coordinate the use of resources, facilitate the exchange of information and help member countries build their own counter-terrorism capacity."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among many international leaders who condemned Friday's terror attack.
"Israel strongly condemns the horrific and criminal terrorist attack on the El-Rawda mosque near El-Arish and sends condolences on behalf of the people of Israel to President el-Sisi, the Egyptian people and the families of the victims. Israel sends its best wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured," Netanyahu told ministers at Sunday's cabinet meeting. "Terrorism will be defeated even more quickly if all countries work against it together."
Meanwhile, a columnist for the Palestinian Authority's official daily said Israel and the U.S. were behind the attack in Egypt, the Palestinian Media Watch reported.
"Time will tell, after the investigations expose the secrets, divergences, and scope of the barbaric crime, because the one who stands behind it - regardless of the name of the organization to which he belongs, and regardless of the pretexts he promoted for his horrible crime - is Israel and the U.S.," wrote Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, calling it an "American-Israeli decision" that serves the "colonial need."
Earlier in November, Prince Mohammed ordered the arrest of an estimated 200 Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen on charges of corruption.