'Thunder' in Saudi desert as major military drill ends

Smoke billows following an aerial bombardment during the Northern Thunder military exercises in Hafr al-Batin, 500 kilometres north-east of the Saudi Capital Riyadh on March 10, 2016Warplanes roared overhead, tanks rumbled across the desert and smoke filled the sky Thursday for the final day of what Saudi Arabia billed as the region’s biggest-ever military exercises. The 12-day “Northern Thunder” manoeuvres in the kingdom’s northeast included 20 nations from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Saudi officials said. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was joined by several foreign leaders for the final day of the exercise, which came as Riyadh vies to assert its leadership in the region.

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