Heavy rains greet Hajj pilgrims ahead of day of devotion at holy site of Arafat

Pilgrims who journeyed from Mina watched the night sky light up with flashes of lightning in Arafat. (Photo: @CICSaudi)
Updated 22 August 2018

Heavy rains greet Hajj pilgrims ahead of day of devotion at holy site of Arafat

ARAFAT: Gusts of winds and heavy rain greeted some of the early pilgrims arriving in Arafat on Sunday evening.
Pilgrims who journeyed from Mina watched the night sky light up with flashes of lightning, as they prepared for a day of prayer and devotion on the Arafat plain on Monday.
The downpour started just after dusk and lasted for less than an hour with everything returning to normal shortly afterwards.
Earlier, Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal arrived in Mina to oversee the operation of transporting and settling the pilgrims in the white-tented city.
He thanked the Saudi leadership for their support and praise Interior minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, who is chairman of the High Hajj Committee, for the successful operation.

Arab News asked Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, about the situation.

He said: "As the storm has passed, the situation at the moment is much better. The effects are not serious, they are simple and we will fix them between 2 to 3 hours maximum.If you notice even the roads are dry. So, thankfully the situation is good in the Arafat site and the effects are very light."

When asked by Arab News if there would be any financial cost after the storm, Mashat said that there was no serious damage and there were no casualties.

Dr. Mashat confirmed that the weather would not affect pilgrims at all, telling Arab News: "In fact, as you can see, movement is smooth and the pilgrims are currently present in Mina and tomorrow they will ascend upon Mount Arafat as expected.

"They (Civil Defense) are always ready and they are present and at the moment on the holy sites of Arafat and Mina."

Trump: US needs Saudi Arabia in fight against terrorism

Updated 17 October 2018

Trump: US needs Saudi Arabia in fight against terrorism

  • US president says he does not want to walk away from the Kingdom 
  • Secretary of State says Turkish president made clear to him that Saudi Arabia is cooperating in Khashoggi investigation

LONDON: Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the US needs Saudi Arabia in the fight against terrorism and that he did not want to walk away from the Kingdom. 

His comments came after US Secretary of Sate Mike Pompeo met the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Erdogan made clear that Saudi Arabia is cooperating in the investigation, Pompeo said, the day after he met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. 

"You know we need Saudi Arabia in terms of our fight against all of the terrorism, everything that's happening in Iran and other places,” Trump told Fox Business in response to questions about the Khashoggi case.

The US president said he did not want to walk away from Saudi Arabia.

“They have a tremendous order, $110 billion,” he said, in reference to US arms sales to the Kingdom.

Trump said later on Wednesday the US had asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence it may have related to the case but was not sure whether any such evidence exists.

"We have asked for it, if it exists ... I'm not sure yet that it exists," Trump said at the White House. "I'll have a full report on that from Mike (Pompeo) when he comes back."

On Tuesday, Trump criticized global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s disappearance, warning of a rush to judgment and echoing the Kingdom’s request for patience.

Khashoggi, who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to complete paperwork related to his divorce. 

Saudi Arabia, which denies any involvement in the kidnapping or killing of Khashoggi, has set up a joint team to investigate the disappearance with Turkey.

As he returned to the US from Turkey, Pompeo said President Erdogan “made clear that the Saudis had cooperated with the investigation that the Turks are engaged in and they are going to share information.”

“There have been a couple of delays but they seemed pretty confident that the Saudis would permit them to do the things they need to do to complete their thorough and complete investigation,” he said.

He added that the US must be mindful of the important business and government ties with the Kingdom, once the facts of the case have been determined.