North Thunder is reminder of Kuwait liberation force

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Updated 20 February 2016
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North Thunder is reminder of Kuwait liberation force

HAFR AL-BATIN: North Thunder, one of the biggest military exercises in the region, which is currently taking place here, is a reminder of the force that was formed to counter Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
About 25 years ago, Saudi Arabia hosted a coalition of 30 states that had gathered to liberate Kuwait.
North Thunder brings together 20 Arab and Muslim countries. Ten of the countries gathered here during that time at King Khaled Military City (KKMC).
The KKMC is one of the country’s newest bases, and one of the largest in the Middle East.
There are about 200,000 soldiers from Arab and Muslim countries gathered here, including Pakistan, Egypt, UAE, Malaysia, Oman, Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Sudan, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Chad, Tunisia, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Qatar, Mauritania and Mauritius.
The military city is equipped with a wide range of support facilities, including a military hospital, training centers, and vast areas for ground and air defense forces.
It has become a symbol of the country’s determination to fight terrorism and ensure peace prevails in the region.
Saudi Arabia is currently leading a military campaign against Iran-backed terrorists in Yemen.
In December, it also announced the formation of a 34-member alliance against terrorism.
A Saudi source said on Thursday that members of the new anti-terrorism coalition would gather in Saudi Arabia next month for its first publicly announced meeting.
Riyadh has said the alliance would share intelligence, combat violent ideologies and deploy troops if necessary.


First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019
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First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.