Saudi crown prince lays cornerstone of Air War Center

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman lays the foundation stone for the establishment of the Air War Center at the King Abdul Aziz Air Base. (SPA)
Updated 02 April 2019

Saudi crown prince lays cornerstone of Air War Center

  • It will support the combat readiness of the air force

RIYADH: The Air War Center will contribute to developing and modernizing combat plans against potential threats, developing and evaluating air force capabilities, standardizing combat concepts and doctrines, and testing and evaluating systems and weapons.

It will support the combat readiness of the air force, carry out joint exercises with friendly countries, and provide training in advanced electronic warfare.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday also launched the first Hawk jet training aircraft at the King Abdul Aziz Air Base, which was assembled and some of its parts manufactured locally by citizens.

The crown prince was given a briefing on the stages of assembling and manufacturing the main parts of the Hawk by Saudi youth, the tests on the plane after assembly, and the testing of the aircraft after flight. He also learned about the initiatives of the Saudi-British program on the transfer and localization of technology, as more than 70 percent of Saudi youth are working on the assembly of 22 Hawk aircraft after more than two years of training by international experts.

The crown prince witnessed the launch ceremony. He unveiled the plane, and signed the front of it.

He then went to the plane’s launch platform, where the captain of the plane received permission from the crown prince via radio to take off. “In the name of Allah, and on the blessing of Allah, fly above the most precious land,” the crown prince said.

The Saudi-British Defense Cooperation Program, in collaboration with BAE Systems, oversaw the training of Saudi youth with the participation of more than 25 national companies.

The crown prince was accompanied during the event by a number of princes and officials.

Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019

Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.