Saudi Arabia shoots down Houthi drone headed toward Jazan

Hothis have increasingly used kamikaze drones as a weapon both in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. (AP/File photo)
Updated 22 June 2019
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Saudi Arabia shoots down Houthi drone headed toward Jazan

  • Attack is the latest in a salvo of missiles and drones targeting civilian sites in the Kingdom
  • US has expressed increasing concern at the Iran-backed militia's behavior

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's air defense forces shot down a "hostile drone" launched by the Houthi militia in Yemen towards Jazan on Thursday.

The drone was intercepted and destroyed at 9.06 p.m., Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said. He added that the Iran-backed Houthis are constantly trying to hit civilian targets.

The attempted attack comes as the Houthis have ramped up efforts to hit inside the Kingdom since they struck Abha airport last week, wounding 26 people.

Earlier, the coalition said the Houthis targeted a desalination plant in the south-western Saudi province of Jazan. The projectile struck near the plant in the Al-Shuqaiq area late Wednesday. There were no casualties or damage.
The coalition will take "firm measures, urgent and timely, to deter this terrorist militia", Maliki said.

The White House said Thursday that President Donald Trump had been briefed about reports of the strike.
Human Rights Watch denounced last week's strike on the airport as an apparent "war crime", urging the Houthis to immediately stop all attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis have fired scores of missiles at Saudi Arabia since the Arab coalition joined the conflict in 2015 - months after the Houthis overthrew the internationally recognized government from the capital Sanaa.

The Houthis rely on Iranian support and weapons and their targeting of Saudi Arabia has added to growing international anger and concern over Iran's actions in the region.

 


Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

Updated 21 July 2019
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Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

  • 257,981 pilgrims benefited from the "preventive services" since the new initiative’s launch

RIYADH: One of the services provided by the Makkah Route initiative, which aims to smooth the Hajj journey of pilgrims and provide top-quality service, is to ensure that all health requirements are met.

The Communication, Relations and Health Awareness General Department of the Ministry of Health is implementing the initiative in two ways. 

The first is to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa (Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Tunisia). 

The second is to check that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

“Preventive measures” mean, for example, providing polio vaccines for pilgrims. The vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), is provided through the Pakistani health authorities at the departure area of the airport.

“The ministry is also deploying a team of five people qualified to supervise the application of health requirements and assess the vaccination procedure and the application of preventive measures,” the department added.   


HIGHLIGHTS

The Makkah Route initiative aims to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa.

The initiative also ensures that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals.

The teams include 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.


The ministry’s procedures in the departure hall include prepping emergency clinics at the points where Makkah Route pilgrims are received. 

These clinics deal with urgent cases, prepare awareness information for pilgrims and coordinate with the General Authority of Civil Aviation regarding their distribution on the targeted airlines.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals, including 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.

The ministry stated that the number of health practitioners assigned to the service of pilgrims during Hajj “is more than 30,000.”

The ministry encourages volunteering during the Hajj season; it believes that it is a very important and noble service toward fellow citizens, nations and the religion, where Islam highly encourages volunteering and serving others.

The ministry is coordinating the major institutions and commissions via its Hajj volunteering link to register volunteers so that they can participate through the societal partnership program.

The missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices provide basic treatment services and refer patients to the ministry’s health facilities, keeping an eye on the overall health situation and reporting any suspicious infectious diseases. 

The ministry monitors all the health institutions and medical missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices to make sure the health requirements are being properly applied, to ensure pilgrims’ safety and guarantee an environment free of infectious diseases.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that so far that there has been no incidence of any epidemic diseases or quarantine cases recorded among pilgrims, who arrived and the health situation is reassuring.

Since the first of Dul Qaada, the ministry has provided preventive services, via access points, to 257,981 pilgrims, with a total rate of commitment to vaccination reached  87.4 percent for meningitis, 67.3 percent for yellow fever and 95.3 percent for polio.