Saudi air defense forces shoot down Houthi missile aimed at Makkah

The holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah is packed with worshipers in this file photo taken during Ramadan in June 2017. The Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen launched a missile aimed at Makkah on Thursday night but it was intercepted by Saudi air defense forces. (SPA file photo)
Updated 29 July 2017
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Saudi air defense forces shoot down Houthi missile aimed at Makkah

JEDDAH: Saudi air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi militias on Thursday night toward the holy city of Makkah, according to the Arab Coalition command.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, the coalition command said the missile was shot down over Al-Wasliya area in Taif province, some 69 kilometers away from the holy city. No damage or injuries were reported.
The missile attack was “clearly a desperate attempt to disrupt the Hajj season,” said the statement.
The alliance command confirmed that the non-stop trafficking of missiles into Yemeni territory comes from the lack of control and monitoring at Al-Hodeida Port in western Yemen, “as well as the misuse of permits granted by the alliance to relief and goods shipments.”
The coalition said that “missile trafficking” is going on because of “the world community’s failure to take a decision to prevent such violations that prolong the war and endanger the lives of civilians.”
“The alliance reiterates its support for the decision of the legitimate Yemeni government for the endeavor of the UN envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Al-Chieck, to impose control on this vital sea outlet,” the coalition statement said.
Earlier, the Saudi-led coalition urged the UN to take control of Hodeida Port to enable the continuous flow of humanitarian support for civilians, but the UN refused to take responsibility. The Iran-backed Houthis have continued to disrupt operations at the key port despite an offensive by the coalition.
Thursday’s missile attack was the second to be aimed at Makkah. On Oct. 27, 2016, a Houthi missile launched from Yemen toward the holy city was shot down by Saudi air defense forces before it could reach its target.
Houthi forces have also launched numerous attacks on other targets, mostly along the Saudi border with Yemen, killing more than 100 soldiers and civilians.
Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, organized the coalition in 2015 to support the UN-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi amid an onslaught of Houthi militias and loyalist forces of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The coalition has accused Iran of arming the Houthis as part of Tehran’s destabilization efforts in the region.
The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Yousef Al-Othaimeen, stated that the outrageous attempted assault on Makkah once again, after the first attempt last year in October, undoubtedly affirms the insistence of the Houthi and Saleh militias to target the holy sites in the Kingdom in implementation of conspiratorial plans against the country, its citizens and residents.
He described it as a futile attempt to destabilize the Hajj season, and an attack on all Muslims in the world, given the sacred city’s holiness as the cradle of revelation.
Al-Othaimeen said that this attack reflects very clearly the lack of seriousness on the part of the Houthi and Saleh militias to end the conflict in Yemen through peaceful means.
He reiterated the support of the OIC for the legitimate Yemeni government and for the efforts of the UN to find political solutions that will guarantee the security and stability of Yemen, while preserving its unity and territorial integrity.
He also reaffirmed the organization’s support for the ongoing efforts by Saudi Arabia to bring about peace in Yemen and to support its legitimate institutions. He affirmed the full solidarity of the OIC in all steps and measures the Kingdom takes to safeguard the country’s security and stability.


KSA gives $31 billion aid to 78 countries, Yemen tops list

Saudi aid is in cash and in-kind assistance, provided in humanitarian and charitable grants and soft loans. (File/Reuters)
Updated 58 min 27 sec ago
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KSA gives $31 billion aid to 78 countries, Yemen tops list

  • Saudi aid is in cash and in-kind assistance, provided in humanitarian and charitable grants and soft loans to promote development. The aid data also includes payments and subsequent financial commitments.
  • The Kingdom has a long history in a variety of sectors and fields, where it is called the Kingdom of Humanity and its name is associated with issues that call for peace and giving.

JEDDAH: Since the foundation of Saudi Arabia, its wealth has not been limited to its citizens but has been spread throughout most of the world.
It has provided humanitarian aid, charitable grants and soft loans to countries regardless of color or race. The Kingdom has always been one of world’s top providers of aid.
To highlight the Kingdom’s effort internationally and to preserve its right to give in the same way as the major donor countries, King Salman issued a royal decree, under the guidance of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief), to establish a database of Saudi aid, including the Kingdom’s humanitarian assistance in coordination with the relevant authorities.
The center worked on the design and prepared the platform for the registration of humanitarian, development and philanthropic projects and contributions based on international standards in the registration and documentation of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (DAC-OECD), and the UN's Financial Tracking Service (UNFTS) and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
Saudi aid is in cash and in-kind  assistance, provided in humanitarian and charitable grants and soft loans to promote development. The aid data also includes payments and subsequent financial commitments.
Saudi donors have been trained to provide and classify the aid in three phases: The first 10 years (2007-2017) — the current phase — the second phase (1996-2006) and the third phase, which includes the rest of the assistance provided since the establishment of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom has a long history in a variety of sectors and fields, where it is called the Kingdom of Humanity and its name is associated with issues that call for peace and giving.
The Kingdom’s humanitarian tenders in accordance with the official Saudi Aid Platform in its current phase (2007-2017) has reached a total of $32.83 billion.
The number of the Kingdom’s humanitarian, development and philanthropic projects reached 1,084, with a total of $31.90 billion for 78 benefiting countries.
The financial contributions to international organizations and entities included (489) contributions totaling $929,711,258 to 37 beneficiaries. Development aid amounted to $493.88 billion and humanitarian aid to $353.440 billion, while philanthropic aid reached $82.381 billion.
The top five recipient countries of aid from Saudi Arabia are: Yemen, with a total of $14 billion for 290 projects, followed by Syria with a total of $3 billion/153 projects, Egypt was ranked third with a total of $2 billion/20 projects, while Niger was ranked fourth with a total of $1.230 billion/7 projects and Mauritania was ranked fifth with 14 projects and a total of $1.219 million.
The top five beneficiaries of the Kingdom were the UN with 45 contributions totaling $303.37 million, the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf with 23 contributions totaling $225.849 million, the League of Arab States with 28 contributions totaling $140.810 million, the UN Development Program with 24 contributions totaling $80.200 million and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation with 21 contributions totaling $48.395 million.
The official public statistics of Saudi humanitarian, development and philanthropic projects to serve the continents and regions worldwide have reached more than $21.165 billion in Asia, $9.810 billion in Africa, $379 million in Europe, $376 million in North America and $170 million in Europe and Central Asia.
The number of partners was 192, the number of sectors was 20 and Saudi donors amounted to 10 entities, where the value of development aid amounted to $21 billion, humanitarian aid was $21 billion, while philanthropic donations amounted to $39 billion.
The top 10 projects have reached the highest level by sector, including humanitarian aid relief aid in emergency cases by 69 percent for 716 projects, transportation with 73 projects, religious and social philanthropic activities with 62 projects, education with 60 projects, health with 42 projects, water and public health with 29 projects, power generation and supply with 20 projects in addition to other projects.