Attack on Al-Ahsa mosque leaves several dead

Updated 01 February 2016

Attack on Al-Ahsa mosque leaves several dead

JEDDAH: An attack on a mosque in Al-Ahsa on Friday has left four worshipers dead and 18 others injured and a terrorist in police custody, the Interior Ministry said.
The ministry confirmed that two men carried out the attack on Al-Ridha Mosque in Mahasin district.
Security men spotted the attackers as they drove up to the mosque during the Friday congregational prayer. In the process of stopping the attackers from entering the mosque, one detonated his suicide belt and another was captured.
In the attack’s chaotic aftermath, police fired weapons into the air to drive away an angry mob that surrounded a police car holding the suspected attacker, according to a video shot from the scene.
A witness said security forces and ambulances quickly surrounded the mosque.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Daesh has previously carried out similar attacks in the Kingdom. Police have launched an investigation.
The attack was roundly condemned with senior scholars praising the diligent work of the security officials in helping to avert a bigger disaster. In a statement, the scholars said the attacks showed the keenness of citizens in “preserving consensus and unity under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that such acts “will never succeed in undermining the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s security or igniting sedition or dispute among the Saudi people.”
Jordan’s government spokesman Mohammed Al-Momani said the attack on worshippers “reiterates once again that terrorism is blind and it that no one is excluded from its evils.”
Al-Ahsa is in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, which last year saw two major mosque attacks.
Last May, a suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers at a mosque in the village of Al-Qadeeh in eastern Saudi Arabia, killing 21 and wounding 100 others.
Days later, Khaled Al-Wahbi Al-Shemari, who was dressed as a woman, detonated the explosive belt he was wearing when challenged by security volunteers at the entrance of Al-Anoud Mosque in Dammam. The blast caused panic and chaos as worshippers rushed to get out of the building and several cars were set alight in the parking lot by the force of the explosion. Daesh claimed responsibility for both attacks.
The Interior Ministry said soon after they had detained 45 suspects in connection with the mosque attacks.

Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 25 April 2018

Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.