Holy sites rail project completed

Updated 10 September 2015

Holy sites rail project completed

JEDDAH: The Chinese construction company responsible for the Mashaer Railway at the holy sites has completed the project after six years.

China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) signed off on the project this week and handed it over to the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, according to a report published by an online publication.
The CRCC said the project was implemented in a short time using world-class technology. Over the past 16 months, it deployed 10,000 people to complete it. The first stage was completed in November 2010.
The railway has lines running over 18.5 kilometers and cost $1.773 billion. Nine railway stations and an area for parking was built. The train lines cross Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat. Five trains can transport 72,000 passengers in an hour one way.
The project included the first contract in the Kingdom covering design, supply, construction, operation and maintenance. The project won the annual merit award of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers for 2012/13.
The company said it had provided 30,000 jobs for Saudi youth and ensured training and skills development for managers. It also trained about 2,000 Saudi students at various universities in the Kingdom. It has helped remove 12,000 buses from Makkah resulting in less traffic jams and reduced levels of pollution.
The company said that it successfully operated the train over five Haj seasons from 2010 to 2014 and transported 16 million pilgrims during that time.

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

Updated 35 min 52 sec ago

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.