Saudi defense forces shoot down Houthi missile over Riyadh

A combo photo from a video on social media shows Patriots being fired against the oncoming Houthi missile over Riyadh on Saturday.
Updated 05 November 2017

Saudi defense forces shoot down Houthi missile over Riyadh

JEDDAH: Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile on Saturday night aimed at Riyadh.

Saudi defense forces intercepted and shot down the missile, and there were no casualties.
Fire engines and emergency vehicles sped to runway R33 at King Khaled International Airport after reports of loud bangs at about 8.45 p.m. 
The General Authority of Civil Aviation said some remnants of the missile landed inside the airport perimeter, but there was no significant damage and all flights were operating as usual.
The Iran-backed rebels admitted the attack in a statement on the Houthi-run Al-Masirah television channel. They said they had targeted the airport.
The Houthis have now launched 78 missiles at Saudi Arabia, including one aimed at Makkah in July, since the Saudi-led coalition began fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen in March 2015.
Col. Turki Al-Maliki, the coalition spokesman, said the missile was fired at 8.07 p.m. and intercepted by the Patriot defense system. Some debris fell in an inhabited area east of the airport, he said.
“This aggressive and futile act by Houthi militias proves the involvement of a regional state that sponsors terrorism in providing the armed Houthi militias with advanced capabilities in flagrant violation of UN Resolution 2216, threatening the security of Saudi Arabia as well as the regional and international security,” Al-Maliki said. “Moreover, targeting civilian areas is a violation of international humanitarian law.”
Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar in Riyadh, told Arab News: “The Houthi missile attack, coming on a day when Saad Hariri resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister in protest against Hezbollah and Iran’s blackmail in Lebanon, can be read as a sign of Iranian frustration.
“Iran and Hezbollah are playing a dirty and dangerous game in the region. They are undermining the stability of the region.
“We know how they targeted the holy city of Makkah in the past; now they have targeted civilians and the airport in the Saudi capital. They are a killing machine and have no qualms about attacking innocent people.”
The attack would only strengthen the determination of the Saudi people and their allies, Al-Shehri said. “This will make us resolute against Iran and Hezbollah and their puppets, the Houthis. They are running out of their dirty cards. Saudi Arabia will neutralize them. Now the Kingdom’s resolve will be even fiercer.”
Now was the time for the international community to put a stop to the Houthi missile menace, Al-Shehri said. “They need to be stopped at all costs. They can’t play with the stability of the region.
“They are playing with fire, and the United Nations and the world must condemn the attacks, and not just condemn, but use all resources — diplomatic and military — to bring Iran, Hezbollah, and the Houthis to heel.”

Interior Ministry is a pioneer in smart services: Saudi minister

More than 350 experts attended the cybersecutiry meeting in Jeddah on Tuesday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 22 November 2018

Interior Ministry is a pioneer in smart services: Saudi minister

  • The ministry “is part of the country’s work system of cybersecurity”

Millions of local internet users are making the most of the Ministry of Interior’s smart service portal every day. Its digital transformation program experience will be a global example to follow.

This was stressed by Assistant Minister of Interior for Technology Affairs Prince Dr. Bandar bin Abdullah Al-Mishari Al-Saud, the chief guest at a cybersecurity meeting organized by the Jeddah branch of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS International) at the Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday, in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Higher Commission for Industrial Security.

The ministry “is part of the country’s work system of cybersecurity, which has recently become an independent government entity. It is responsible for planning and supervising cybersecurity. Therefore, we fully cooperate with it. Thus, the ministry is keen to support all national platforms, particularly the national cybersecurity authority,” the minister said in the meeting, in which specialists from the National Cyber Security Center and the Communications and Information Technology Commission participated.

In a 30-minute speech, the prince addressed an audience of more than 350, stressing that the Ministry of Interior has been digitized from the start.

“The National Information Center (NIC) was established 40 years ago as the first information center in the Middle East. Digitization in the Ministry of Interior started at that time. The founding of the NIC synchronized with the establishment of King Saud University’s College of Computer and Information Sciences, as the first college of its kind in the region, as far as I know,” he said. The college was one of the few institutions in the world at that time, he said. The ministry and King Saud University collaborated to establish the College of Computer and Information Sciences.

Prince Bandar pointed out that data have become “a commodity, an industry, wealth. All forms of data, in fact, have become an integrated industry and a national treasure on all levels.” Data and information, if used properly, can make a big leap in our life. If neglected, he said, they will be a burden on societies.

He noted that the portal of the Saudi Ministry of Interior is a pioneer in the region in smart services and solutions, pointing out that the ministry’s platforms and initiatives are used by millions of users every day. “It has made outstanding achievements at all levels, including passports, traffic and other services,” he said. The prince stressed in his lecture that the Interior Ministry is a leader in adopting technology in nearly all the services it provides.

“The ministry started issuing entry/exit visas electronically in 2009. It also introduced the fingerprint system and the smart national ID cards in the same year. A year later, it introduced the Absher platform,” he said.

“Absher will soon launch a new service called ‘Absher Government’ which will provide governmental entities with the services they need. We will also add more services and technologies to the Absher platform to meet people’s needs and ease their lives,” the assistant minister said. They were thinking of making Absher a giant platform like Google, he said.

The use of electronic services and smart solutions is the backbone for future government, he said. “Any economic, developmental and social success will be through depending mainly on these elements. We, in Saudi Arabia, have made great advances in this regard, in a way that complies with the country’s Vision 2030. Our achievements in this field harmonize with the rapid increase in deploying technology and knowledge.” 

The leadership has a clear vision and ambitious goals that will put Saudi Arabia among the developed countries in the world.

Replying to an Arab News question about how we can successfully manage the unstoppable flow of applications that may damage our cultural identity or do harm to our social fabric, the assistant minister said clear legislation can help control information and preserve the right of information owners, and this what will soon happen after the national privacy system is issued.

The minister said the total population of Saudi Arabia exceeded 33.2 million. “More than 30.2 million use the internet and 25 million are active internet users, and 18 million of Saudis are active mobile users.”