OIC warns against provocative escalation of attacks by Iranian-backed Houthis

Updated 11 November 2017
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OIC warns against provocative escalation of attacks by Iranian-backed Houthis

RIYADH: France, South Korea and Mexico have denounced the Houthi militias and their cohorts for the ballistic missile attack on Riyadh, while the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned against provocative escalation of attacks by the Iranian-backed militants.
OIC stressed in a statement that the clear and open support provided by some parties to the Houthi militias, which proved to be a justification for the logic of violence, will unavoidably lead to placing them in a position of accountability.
The OIC expressed its deep regret at the reports indicating the involvement of these parties in the escalation, which is a flagrant violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolution 2216, and a disregard of principles of OIC and international charters, calling for respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states.
It added that “such blatant aggression would only further undermine the means to bring peace, security and stability to the region.”
The OIC also pointed out that it is following with great concern the repercussions of the ballistic missile attack on Riyadh which constitutes a serious violation of international law and an infringement of the safety and inviolability of the Kingdom’s territory.
Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron slammed the missile attack during his first visit to the Middle East on Thursday.
Macron met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh and discussed developments in the Middle East as well as efforts being exerted toward regional security, including joint coordination in the fight against terrorism.
The two leaders also discussed opportunities to further develop bilateral cooperation in line with Vision 2030.
Moreover, the Republic of South Korea on Friday denounced the ballistic missile attack by Yemeni rebels which targeted the airport in the capital.
The South Korean Embassy spokesman in Riyadh told Arab News that the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning the missile attack and calling for efforts to help build peace in the Middle East region.
The ministry said in a statement: “The South Korean government is paying attention to the Saudi government’s announcement of the interception, and condemns the missile attack, which threatened the safety of civilians and international travel.”
“The South Korean government urges all relevant parties in Yemen and neighboring countries to make efforts to recover peace and stability in Yemen and the Middle East region,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Mexican government condemned the missile attack from inside Yemeni territory toward the city of Riyadh, which the Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercepted, avoiding casualties and damage.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that Mexico totally rejects the ballistic missile attack against innocent people and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, calling on the concerned parties to stop the aggressive attacks on the Kingdom’s territory.
Earlier, an array of world leaders condemned the Houthi missile attack on the Saudi capital.


Hajj 2018: More than 2 million pilgrims begin journey of a lifetime

Updated 19 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: More than 2 million pilgrims begin journey of a lifetime

  • Massive safety and security operation swings into action as annual Hajj begins
  • The Hajj is an unparalleled logistical operation, with statistics to match. The Saudi Ministry of Health alone has employed nearly 30,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and technicians to provide health care to the pilgrims

MAKKAH: The number of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia passed two million on Saturday, Saudi security chiefs said, as the country finished preparations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to begin on Sunday.

A final tally will be announced at the beginning of Eid Al-Adha on Tuesday, said Interior Ministry security spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki.

The pilgrims have flown in from almost every country in the world, but all had a similar story to tell — this is the experience of a lifetime.

“This is the first time I have seen the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba. It is the best feeling of my life to be able to perform the Hajj,” said Hisham Mostafa, 50, an accountant from Aleppo who fled the war in Syria five years ago and now lives in Turkey.

Nayef Ahmed, 37, from Yemen, sold a plot of land to be able to afford to travel to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. “Because of the war the cost was very high. But being here I feel comfort and peace and I pray to God for the war to end,” he said.

Najwa, 59, from Tunisia, said: “I came for Umrah in 2007 and today after 10 years of registering and waiting, I am here. I cannot describe the feeling. I cry every day.”

Over the next few days the pilgrims will retrace the steps of the Prophet Muhammad 14 centuries ago — and their safety and security are a Saudi priority.

“We will prevent any actions that are not part of the Hajj ritual and any act that may impact the safety of pilgrims or their ability to perform the rite,” Al-Turki said.

To ensure their safety, pilgrims will wear electronic identification bracelets, connected to GPS. “There is a comprehensive electronic agenda for every pilgrim and we have provided many apps that offer guidance,” said the Minister of Haj and Umrah, Mohammed Salih Bentin.

“We have a fleet of more than 18,000 buses, all of them linked to a control system that tracks their path.”

The Hajj is an unparalleled logistical operation, with statistics to match. The Saudi Ministry of Health alone has employed nearly 30,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and technicians to provide health care to the pilgrims.

The Saudi Red Crescent is operating 127 emergency centers, 361 ambulance cars and 20 emergency motorcycles, with nearly 2,000 staff on duty in Makkah and Madinah.

There will be 22 operational hospitals in Madinah and the holy sites, and 15 temporary emergency centers, supported by a fleet of nearly 90 ambulances and more than 650 paramedics.