Mataf bridge removed

EASE OF PRAYER: The mataf around the Kaaba is now completely free of the temporary bridge, providing more space for worshippers to perform tawaf (circumambulate around the House of God) and say their prayers. (SPA)
Updated 14 May 2016
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Mataf bridge removed

MAKKAH: The temporary mataf has been completely dismantled and removed, providing much more space for worshippers to perform the congregational prayers near the Kaaba on Friday.

“A total of 10,489 pieces of the mataf and connecting bridges were removed within 35 days,” Wael Al-Halabi, a member of the technical committee for projects of the Two Holy Mosques, was quoted as saying by local media.
More than 580 individuals from the group participated in the removal of the bridge in addition to 80 engineers from the technical committee, he said.
He appreciated the efforts of the committee’s employees in removing the temporary mataf quickly, and also thanked the Ministry of Finance, Special Command Force of the Grand Mosque,
Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, Makkah Civil Defense and the Binladen Group.
Al-Halabi said work was stopped during Fridays so as not to disturb worshippers and provide more space. He said that work hours exceeded 200,000 with no registered injuries, “thanks to God and those committed to implementing safety requirements and professional health.”
He said the Special Command Force of the Grand Mosque exerted remarkable efforts in controlling overcrowding in the mataf. The General Presidency provided awareness services to worshipers and the Civil Defense kept a watch on the weather that might affect the workflow. It also kept an emergency plan ready for rain or strong winds.
Al-Halabi said the removal of the temporary bridge was done according to a scheduled plan by the Binladin Group over eight stages.
“It was also amended according to the workflow in order to provide the utmost comfort and more space for the visitors to the Grand Mosque.”


Saudi King Salman, crown prince receive US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Updated 36 min 35 sec ago
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Saudi King Salman, crown prince receive US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

  • Pompeo thanked King Salman for his commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation
  • The crown prince assured Pompeo that the US and Saudi Arabia are "old, strong allies"

RIYADH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with King Salman in the Saudi capital on Tuesday, before arriving at Riyadh’s royal palace to talk with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Pompeo thanked Saudi King Salman for his commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, while the crown prince assured him that the US and Saudi Arabia are "old, strong allies."

The US chief diplomat was greeted at Riyadh airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and ambassador to Washington Prince Khalid bin Salman.

“I hope you are comfortable here,” the king told Pompeo, according to the reporters. Pompeo responded, “Thank you for accepting my visit on behalf of President Trump.”

(With AFP)