U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Egypt is an "important partner" in the emerging coalition aimed at beating back the extremist Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

During a visit to Cairo on Saturday, Kerry said that "as an intellectual and cultural capital to the Muslim world," Egypt has a "critical role" to play in denouncing the extremist group's harsh ideology.

Egypt is home to Al-Azhar University, one of the oldest and most revered centers of religious learning for Sunni Muslims.

Kerry spoke after meeting with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Egypt is unlikely to send troops to battle the Islamic State group but could provide logistical and intelligence support to the coalition.