First group of Lankan pilgims arrives

WARM WELCOME: Mohammed Azmi Thassim, Faizer Mackeen and senior diplomats from Riyadh and Jeddah receive the first group of Sri Lankan pilgrims in Jeddah on Sunday. (AN photo)
Updated 20 August 2016
0

First group of Lankan pilgims arrives

RIYADH: The first group of 62 of the 2,240 Sri Lankan Haj pilgrims arrived on a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane in Jeddah on Sunday.
The island’s national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, and other carriers will bring more pilgrim in the coming days.
Sri Lankan Ambassador Mohammed Azmi Thassim, Consul General Faizer Mackeen and senior diplomats welcomed the pilgrims.
“This year, we had a limited quota because of the ongoing development works in Makkah,” Thassim, who met Haj and Umrah Minister Mohammed Salih Bentin on Sunday, told Arab News from Jeddah.
Ferrying of the Colombo pilgrims to and from Jeddah will be shared by the SriLankan Airlines, the Saudi Arabian Airlines and other airlines.
Consul General Mackeen said: “Today, we received the Ummul Qura Group, led by Sheikh Hussein Deen.”
He said the consulate has deployed a team at the Haj terminal of the Jeddah airport to welcome Sri Lankan pilgrims. The officials offer refreshments to the pilgrims on arrival and attend to their needs until they leave for the holy cities.
Four teams have been formed in Makkah, Jeddah, Minah and Madinah to assist the pilgrims. In addition to the mission’s staff, the diplomat said that he had solicited the cooperation of volunteers, who would help the pilgrims in Makkah, Madinah and at the Haj terminal. “A medical team will also arrive with the pilgrims to look after their health needs.”
Speaking from Colombo, Mohamed Hashim Abdul Haleem, Muslim religious affairs and posts minister, said the Sri Lankan pilgrims will be provided with the best of services both in Makkah and Madinah during their pilgrimage. “With the help of the Saudi government, we have also introduced a new software to our system to streamline all our Haj activities,” he said
He said the pilgrims’ movements will be monitored and the travel agents held responsible if anything untoward happens to the pilgrims.
The minister said that this year, the first timers were given preference in the pilgrims’ selection process. “I have also stipulated the minimum cost for each pilgrim, which should include the airfare, accommodation and internal travel,” he said, adding that any travel operator who tries to exploit the pilgrims will be severely dealt with.


Tribal leaders from Saada demand the Saudi-led coalition continue military operations in Yemen

Updated 16 July 2018
0

Tribal leaders from Saada demand the Saudi-led coalition continue military operations in Yemen

JEDDAH: The Iranian-backed Houthi militia has destroyed the Yemeni state and its social structure and marginalized all segments of the society, according to the Saudi-led Coalition spokesperson.
Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthis have also destroyed Yemen’s history, represented by its civilization and its tribes. 
In a press conference held at the Armed Forces club in Riyadh, Col. Al-Maliki spoke about Houthi violations against the Yemeni state and how they marginalized segments of its community. The conference was attended by tribal leaders and their representatives from Yemeni’s Saada governorate. 
Al-Maliki said the violations are committed on a daily basis against the Yemeni people, depriving them of their rights and displacing them from their homes. 
He added that there is popular rejection for acts committed by the Houthi militia, including vandalism, sectarian strifes, and racist acts against Yemeni individuals. 
Tribal leader Sheikh Abdel Khaleq Bishr spoke at the conference, saying “the sons of Saada’s governorate still raise the banners of sacrifice and struggle against the Iranian-backed militia, which has lasted more than a decade and half until now.”
He appealed to the legitimate Yemeni government, represented by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and the Saudi-led coalition to support the legitimacy and continue the battle of liberation of Saada province, in particular, and the Republic of Yemen, in general.
Bishr said “the people of this governorate have sacrificed a lot to maintain the Arab identity of Saada,” adding that they “do not welcome any Iranian role or the presence of an Iranian policy agenda.” 
Finally, Bishr thanked the Yemeni army and the coalition forces supporting the legitimacy of the Yemeni government.