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
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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."


US welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Khashoggi investigation as ‘step in the right direction’

Updated 16 November 2018
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US welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Khashoggi investigation as ‘step in the right direction’

  • State department says steps must continue to be taken toward full accountability
  • Arab and Western countries welcomed the steps taken in the investigation

JEDDAH: The United States welcomed the details of Saudi Arabia’s investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as a “good first step” on Thursday.

The comments came as a host of countries responded positively to a briefing from the Kingdom’s public prosecution that said it had identified 21 suspects in the killing of the Saudi journalist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

The prosecution on Thursday called for five people to receive the death penalty as it revealed the details of the investigation so far.

“We regard the announcement that they made as a good first step, it's a step in the right direction,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

“It is an initial investigation finding. It is important that those steps continue to be taken toward full accountability.”

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READ MORE:

Full text: Saudi Arabia public prosecution briefing on the Jamal Khashoggi murder investigation

Saudi Arabia FM: Khashoggi murder investigations will continue until all questions are answered

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor seeks death penalty for 5 Khashoggi suspects

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Both Arab and Western countries welcomed the steps taken by the investigation outlined in the briefing.

The Arab League expressed support for the measures taken by the Kingdom.

“The measures are seen as reflecting the great interest of the Kingdom to reach those responsible for committing the murder and take the firm and decisive action against them,” the League’s  Secretariat General said.

The statement also urged Turkey to reciprocate the Kingdom’s approach by providing the evidence in the case and meet Saudi demands to form a joint mechanism for cooperation on the investigation.

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said the details of the investigation released on Thursday “confirm the Kingdom’s commitment to completing the necessary procedures in order to continue the investigation away from the politicization sought by some malicious parties.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) praised the statement from the Public Prosecution.

“The Saudi prosecution has clearly answered the outstanding questions, charged the responsible parties, identified the roles of those involved in this crime and announced all that with transparency,” OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen said.

Countries in the region were also quick to back the progress made in the case.

The UAE welcomed the findings and the measures taken to hold accountable those behind the murder.

“The measures taken corroborate the fact that Saudi Arabia will remain a state of values, and justice that respects the principles of law and justice,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.

Egypt also praised Saudi measures and called on countries to avoid politicizing the case.

The progress in the investigation “highlighted the seriousness of the Kingdom and its transparency in clarifying the truth,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

The Jordanian government stressed the importance of the public prosecution's announcement to charge a number of detainees in the case.

"This announcement is an important step towards achieving justice through the investigations' results," Amman said.

Other governments to issue statements welcoming the Kingdom’s steps included Djibouti and Palestine.

Meanwhile, France's foreign ministry said the investigation was a “step in the right direction.”