Heavy sandstorm sweeps Riyadh enveloping city skyline with dust

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Heavy sandstorm sweeps the Saudi capital Riyadh, enveloping the city’s skyline with dust. (AN photo / Iqbal Hossain)
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Heavy sandstorm sweeps the Saudi capital Riyadh, enveloping the city’s skyline with dust. (AN photo / Iqbal Hossain)
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Heavy sandstorm sweeps the Saudi capital Riyadh, enveloping the city’s skyline with dust. (AN photo / Iqbal Hossain)
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Heavy sandstorm sweeps the Saudi capital Riyadh, enveloping the city’s skyline with dust. (AN photo / Iqbal Hossain)
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Heavy sandstorm sweeps the Saudi capital Riyadh, enveloping the city’s skyline with dust. (AN photo / Iqbal Hossain)
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Heavy sandstorm sweeps the Saudi capital Riyadh, enveloping the city’s skyline with dust. (AN photo / Iqbal Hossain)
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Heavy sandstorm sweeps the Saudi capital Riyadh, enveloping the city’s skyline with dust. (AN photo / Iqbal Hossain)
Updated 27 July 2018
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Heavy sandstorm sweeps Riyadh enveloping city skyline with dust

RIYADH: A thick blanket of sand swiped through the Saudi capital on Friday, enveloping the city skyline with heavy dust caused by strong winds, hampering visibility during the day time.
The traffic department in Riyadh cautioned motorists and advised them to go slow and exercise restraint, as well as use headlights to avoid any eventuality due to high speed.
The department also warned that darkness had enveloped the main routes due to the heavy sandstorm, which started on Thursday night.
The unpleasant weather, however, had no major impact on the air traffic in the capital as flights remained on schedule at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport.
As the blinding dust continued to envelope the city, drivers were seen using headlights to avoid mishaps.
The General Directorate of Civil Defense, however, advised Riyadh residents to avoid going to sandy picnic spots during the weekend to avoid any encounters during the storm.
Earlier, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) forecast the sandstorm approaching Riyadh with highspeed winds and warned of reduced horizontal visibility.
The wind speed on Friday was recorded at 47 km per hour. The maximum temperature for the day was recorded at 44 degrees Celsius, whereas humidity was pegged relatively low at 7 percent, making the day otherwise comfortable.


Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.