Copts welcome in Saudi Arabia: Egypt’s Tawadros II praises Crown Prince’s reforms

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Pope Tawadros II, pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Cathedral of Abbasiya in Cairo on Monday. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Pope Tawadros II, pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, at the Cathedral of Abbasiya in Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Copts welcome in Saudi Arabia: Egypt’s Tawadros II praises Crown Prince’s reforms

CAIRO: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia after a rare meeting in Cairo’s main cathedral.
Speaking to Egyptian media after the visit the head of the Egyptian church, Pope Tawadros II said: “In the name of the Coptic Orthodox church we welcome Prince Mohammed’s visit to his second country Egypt.
“Prince Mohammed spoke a lot of his affection for the Copts,” the Pope said, adding that the kingdom’s heir to the throne invited him and all Copts to visit Saudi Arabia.  
The two men walked together through St Mark's Cathedral, in what Egypt’s state news agency described as the first tour of its kind.
The visit came on the second day of the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Egypt – his first foreign visit since he became heir to the throne.
On a busy day, Prince Mohammed also visited Al-Azhar university, toured a section of the Suez Canal and watched a performance at the Cairo Opera House.
The start of the trip was marked by a series of deals and agreements relating to investment funds and projects.
But along with the key economic agreements, the Crown Prince held important and symbolic meetings with Egypt’s spiritual leaders.
He also met Egypt's top Islamic official, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb at Al-Azhar, the foremost seat of learning in Sunni Islam.
Earlier, the prince toured some of the infrastructure projects that Egypt has pushed through since El-Sisi came to power after the tumultuous years aftermath of the Arab Spring.
In Ismailia, the two leaders travelled through one of the new tunnels being built under the Suez canal. They then boarded a boat from a red-carpeted dock as an army band played marching music, to view the new section of the Suez Canal, AP reported. 
He later cut the ribbon at a ceremony to inaugurate a nearby army-built resort.
The two countries agreed late on Sunday to set up a joint $10 billion fund to develop areas of Egypt linked to the Neom project, a planned $500 billion mega city, unveiled by Prince Mohammed last year.
The Saudi Press Agency said there was “wide potential … through cooperation opportunities between the Suez Canal economic zone and Saudi Arabia's Neom future-project on the Red Sea coast.”
In the evening, El-Sisi and Prince Mohammed attended a performance of "Salem nafsak" (Surrender Yourself) at the Cairo Opera House. 
The play, which was created by students, sheds light on social problems of the modern era including the impact of social media, incitement of terrorism and violence against women.
Ismail Mokhtar, head of the government’s Artistic Theatre House, said the attendance of El-Sisi and the Crown Prince was an important gesture of support for the young actors and Egyptian theater in general.
As a sign of the importance afforded to the visit, posters of the Egyptian president, Prince Mohammed and Saudi King Salman have been posted across the city.
"Welcome to your second country," said one; another read "Saudi and Egypt are one hand, one nation."

 


Saudi Arabia arrests 13 accused of planning terrorist attacks

Updated 22 April 2019
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Saudi Arabia arrests 13 accused of planning terrorist attacks

  • Four attackers were killed in failed terrorist attack claimed by Daesh on Interior Ministry building in Zulfi
  • The Presidency of State Security released identities of the 4 attackers

RIYADH: Thirteen people were arrested after finding plans to execute criminal acts that were targeting the Kingdom’s security, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
The statement published by SPA included the names of the 13 men arrested, in addition to their civil ID numbers.
The spokesperson for the Saudi Presidency of State Security said explosive belts were found during a raid on the house of the Zulfi attackers.
Four heavily armed attackers were killed in a failed terrorist attack claimed by Daesh on an Interior Ministry building in Zulfi, north of Riyadh on Sunday.
The four terrorists that were killed belonged to Daesh.
The Presidency of State Security released the identities of the four attackers: Abdullah Hamoud Al-Hamoud, Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Mansour, Samer Abdulaziz Al-Madid and Salman Abdulaziz Al-Madid.

Saudi authorities discovered a house in Al-Rayyan neighborhood in Zulfi governorate, rented by Abdullah Al-Hamoud, one of the four perpetrators, where they found what resembled to be a factory for manufacturing explosives and explosive belts.
A total of five explosive belts were found, four of which were worn by the perpetrators, and another inside a car. The belts contain detonating keys and grenades with shrapnel-like screws.
Authorities also seized 64 homemade grenades, 61 pipe fittings, of which nine were being processed as pipe bombs, three mobile phones, three pressure cookers ready for detonation, two Kalashnikov machine guns, six pistols, and other various weapons.
They also found four bags (74,900 kg) containing organic fertilizers, along with sets of laboratory glass containers, a number of plastic containers, a package of liquid chemical containers, sulfur-fiber cartons, a homemade explosive detonator and a set of screws that were equipped with shrapnel.
Authorities also seized a set of ATM cards, two national identity cards, SR 228, a number of publications and CD-ROMs with content related to terrorist organization.
The Presidency of State Security said it is continuing to follow up with terrorist elements that threaten the security and stability of the Kingdom.