Residents soon to return home to Saudi village as terrorists are expelled and rehab begins

A Saudi official gives a media briefing on the plan to redevelop Al-Musawara in Al-Awamiyah village, Qatif. (AN photo)
Updated 14 August 2017
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Residents soon to return home to Saudi village as terrorists are expelled and rehab begins

AL-AWAMIYAH: Residents will soon be able to return to their homes almost three months after an escalation in security operations to clear terrorists and criminals from Al-Musawara, a village in Al-Awamiyah in Qatif.
With Saudi Special Security Forces (SSSF) in control of the area since Friday, construction crews have been able to begin repairing homes and businesses damaged in the clashes that forced 428 families to flee.
In May, development work on a shopping and recreation project in the village had to be halted after construction workers came under heavy arms fire from militants. A bulldozer driver and a two-year-old child were killed.
As SSSF officers moved to restore order they were met with heavy arms fire, including rocket propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices, from abandoned buildings. Residents were forced to flee as the attacks grew more aggressive and deadly.
“Citizens were calling asking for help to escape,” said Fahd, an officer in Al-Musawara. “We rescued many families. Some of them told us that any time they stepped out of a building they would be shot at. The terrorists were not allowing them to leave.”
In a single day, a police officer was killed and six others wounded when their patrol came under fire.
Between July 22 and July 30, at least five people were killed as security forces began to flush out the remaining terrorists and criminals.
“When the next stage of the development began in May of this year, the demolition stage, the village had to be completely unoccupied. As demolition works began, construction workers were being shot at,” said Essam Abdulatif Al-Mulla, acting mayor of Qatif. “Terrorists and criminals escalated their assault and at that the police began a mandatory evacuation.”
In several years of clashes in Qatif, 28 police officers have been killed and 195 wounded, the Interior Ministry says. In addition, 21 Saudi citizens and seven expatriates have been killed, and 109 Saudis and 26 expatriates injured.
Last Wednesday, after an intense campaign by security forces, Al-Musawara was declared 90 percent safe and by Friday it was declared completely free of terrorist and criminal elements.
The area is now empty and demolition of the most damaged areas, which became a hideout for terrorists, wanted individuals and criminals, can begin.
Reconstruction of buildings in the surrounding district and the restoration of utilities are thought to be a few weeks away.


Crown Prince: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big

Updated 46 sec ago
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Crown Prince: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big

  • Saudi Arabia and China signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum
  • The crown prince presided at a China-Saudi cooperation forum that concluded with 12 agreements on cooperation

RIYADH: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Friday during his visit to China.

Citing a 32 percent increase in bilateral trade last year, the crown prince added that high-level contacts were paying off in areas from commerce to security and defense.
"Saudi Arabia's relations with China can be traced back a very long time in the past," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told President Xi Jinping at their meeting in the Great Hall of the People in the heart of the Chinese capital.

Meanwhile, the Chinese president stressed his country's keenness on joint efforts with Saudi Arabia to support strategic relations between the two countries. He added that there has been coordination with Saudi Arabia on international and regional issues in recent years. 

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The crown prince earlier Friday presided at a China-Saudi cooperation forum that concluded with 12 agreements on cooperation in fields ranging from petroleum and the chemical industry to investment, renewable energy and counter-terrorism. Saudi Arabia is one of China's top crude oil suppliers and an important market for its exports.

Saudi Arabia and China also signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum. 35 agreements had been signed at the forum, held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA. Four licenses for Chinese companies were awarded at the forum.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also pledged Saudi Arabia's backing for China's gargantuan "belt and road" infrastructure project, saying he was willing to link it with the kingdom's Vision 2030 plans— a blueprint put forth by the crown prince to wean the kingdom off its reliance on oil, particularly as sustainable sources of energy become cheaper and more popular.
The Crown Prince's visit follows trips to India and Pakistan, which send millions of laborers to Saudi Arabia and are seeking closer economic ties.