Pilgrims stone Jamrat Al-Aqaba

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Muslim pilgrims cast stones at the huge stone pillar in the symbolic stoning of the devil during the annual Hajj pilgrimage on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (SPA)
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Muslim pilgrims cast stones at the huge stone pillar in the symbolic stoning of the devil during the annual Hajj pilgrimage on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (SPA)
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Muslim pilgrims cast stones at the huge stone pillar in the symbolic stoning of the devil during the annual Hajj pilgrimage on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (SPA)
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Muslim pilgrims cast stones at the huge stone pillar in the symbolic stoning of the devil during the annual Hajj pilgrimage on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (SPA)
Updated 22 August 2018
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Pilgrims stone Jamrat Al-Aqaba

  • Pilgrims from around the world have expressed their gratitude for the services provided to them by the Saudi authorities
  • Hajj is now easier than ever; the Jamarat Bridge, the services and everything

MINA: Hajj pilgrims threw pebbles in Mina on the first day of Eid Al-Adha, and stoned Jamrat Al-Aqaba with seven pebbles.
Pilgrims expressed happiness with the ease of throwing pebbles, security, health and ambulatory services, cleanliness and their ease of movement.
They moved gradually and safely toward Jamarat Bridge and the squares surrounding the area, then returned to their residences.
Road traffic in Mina flowed smoothly, and security personnel and scouts offered advice and directions to pilgrims.
Guests of King Salman’s Hajj and Umrah program, whom he hosted at his own expense, settled in Mina after throwing the first stones.
Some 2,500 men and women from Palestine and Egypt reached Mina after being joined by pilgrims from Guinea-Bissau, in addition to 5,400 guests from 94 countries worldwide.
Abdullah bin Medlej Al-Medlej, undersecretary at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, congratulated the guests for arriving safely and performing the pilgrimage ceremonies.
He thanked the king and crown prince for their constant efforts to serve Islam and Muslims worldwide, and commended the Hajj and Umrah program.
Pilgrims from around the world have expressed their gratitude for the services provided to them by the Saudi authorities, and praised the quality.
“Despite the small size of the holy sites area and the massive gatherings of pilgrims coming yearly to this place, Saudi Arabia has succeeded in managing the huge crowds,” said Jihad Obaid, an Iraqi pilgrim performing Hajj for the first time. The only thing he does not like is the hot weather, but the water sprinklers installed along the way have been a great help, he added.
“These sprinklers reflect how caring the Saudi government is,” he said. “We all know that man can’t control weather challenges, but the preparations made to protect pilgrims is a sign of the great efforts to help pilgrims carry out their rituals comfortably.”
Mas’ood BuHadji, from Algeria, thanked the security guards for the work they do for pilgrims.
“I would like to extend my thanks and appreciations to the security men who spare no effort in assisting the pilgrims to easily complete their rituals,” he said. “Although I am not Saudi, I feel proud of these Muslim security men, whose job here is not only to secure pilgrims a safe Hajj, but also offer them bottles of cold water.
“Hajj is now easier than ever; the Jamarat Bridge, the services and everything.”

Aviation security
The General Security Aviation Command has increased the number of daily sorties over the holy sites during this year’s Hajj.
The aim is to monitor security plans and pedestrian traffic, and to prevent illegal entry to the sites.
As of Monday, the command is flying on average 10 daily sorties, said Col. Mizali Abdullah Abed Al-Wahab.

Transport Hajj pilgrims
Transport Minister Dr. Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi affirmed the success of the plan to transport Hajj pilgrims from Mount Arafat to Muzdalifah by bus.
The success is due to cooperation between the ministry, the Public Transport Authority and other agencies participating in the Hajj season, he said.
Al-Amoudi congratulated King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the successful movement of pilgrims to Muzdalifah.

OIC praised
The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) congratulated the Muslim world on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha.
Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen appealed to Allah to accept people’s Hajj pilgrimage, reward them for it and return them safe to their loved ones.
He congratulated King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, thanked the Saudi government and people for their services to pilgrims, and lauded development projects at the holy sites to better serve them.


US highlights Saudi Arabia’s key role in global fight against terrorism

Saudi Arabia has continued to maintain a strong anti-terrorism relationship with the US. (SPA)
Updated 20 September 2018
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US highlights Saudi Arabia’s key role in global fight against terrorism

  • The US State Department pointed out that the Kingdom has achieved a high level of accuracy in its counterterrorism operations

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts to combat terrorism, describing the Kingdom as an active and key member in the global coalition to defeat Daesh.
“Saudi Arabia has continued to maintain a strong anti-terrorism relationship with the United States and has supported the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” the State Department noted in its annual report on the global state of terrorism. It also highlighted the joint strategic vision between the two countries and a number of new initiatives to counter terrorist messages and disrupt the financing of terrorism launched last year during US president Donald-Trump’s visit to the Kingdom.
The report said Saudi Arabia has implemented systems to follow UN Security Council sanctions on groups and individuals linked to Daesh and Al Qaeda, and has expanded existing counterterrorism programs and projects to rehabilitate terrorist fighters who leave extremist groups. It has also adopted laws to counter the financing of terrorist groups.
The State Department pointed out that the Kingdom has achieved a high level of accuracy in its counterterrorism operations, and has carried out a number of arrests and disrupted active terrorist cells throughout the country.
The report referred to terrorist plans that were thwarted in the Kingdom, noting the efforts being made in legislation, law enforcement and border security, as well as the country’s positive contribution as a member of the Financial Action Task Force for the Middle East and North Africa, a regional body that imposes financial sanctions on individuals and groups that help to fund terrorism.
"The Kingdom has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened sanctions on the financing of terrorism," the report said.
It also pointed out that the Kingdom provided 100 million euros ($117 million) to fight terrorism in the Sahel countries in Africa, as the Kingdom is a founding member of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum.