Palestinian pilgrim: King Salman’s Hajj gift relieved pain of son’s death

Palestinian pilgrim Hussain Rayan. (AN photo)
Updated 05 September 2017

Palestinian pilgrim: King Salman’s Hajj gift relieved pain of son’s death

MAKKAH: Palestinian press photographer Rami Fathi never thought his hobby would be the cause of his death at the hands of Israeli soldiers.
His 68-year-old father Hajj Hussain Rayan, from Gaza, told Arab News while on pilgrimage in Mina: “I had my first child, Rami, after 14 years of sterility. We were so happy, and remained so until he became a victim of an Israeli sniper. The wound of our loss remains so painful.”
He spoke about how his son, who has two boys and two girls, joined the Palestine News Network. “Despite attempts by his mother to dissuade him, he used to say, ‘we have to expose the crimes of the Zionists to the world’,” said Rayan. 
“He recorded many stories about the courage of Palestinians. We saw his photographs on international news agencies and satellite channels. So he became a target for the Zionists, who wanted to block stories and photographs of what was really happening by intimidating and killing journalists.”
Rayan described how three years ago, his son, who was 26 at the time, went to Shuja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza to record aggression by Israeli soldiers on camera. They violated a three-hour truce and attacked people. Fathi was hit, fell next to his camera and was taken to hospital.
“I was at home. My wife was listening to the news, and she told me about the battle in Shuja’iyya. I asked her to turn off the radio because I didn’t want my blood pressure and diabetes to get worse,” said Rayan with tears in his eyes.
“Later I went out and found the neighbors at my door. They told me Rami had a foot injury. But on my way to the hospital, I met a Palestinian soldier who told me my son had been martyred. I passed out, and regained consciousness at the hospital with doctors around me. We’ve suffered ever since.”
But Rayan said having his Hajj expenses, and those of his wife, covered by King Salman “has relieved that deep pain by his gift for us to perform the pilgrimage for the first time. Throughout Hajj, we’ve prayed for King Salman and our martyred son.”
Meanwhile, leaders of Islamic institutions and centers in European countries praised the efforts exerted by the Kingdom led by King Salman to serve pilgrims in performing Hajj.
The president of the Spanish Islamic Community, Mohammed Kamal Mustafa said: “The Kingdom exerts major efforts to unify Muslims. It has always worked toward the success of matters related to the Islamic nation, despite the political, economic and cultural challenges it is facing. It has assumed a great role in fighting terrorism, and it works toward world peace and humanitarian action. Thus, the Kingdom is the leader of the Islamic world and the heart of all Muslims.”
He said that Muslims around the world appreciate the efforts exerted by the Kingdom to serve pilgrims and guests, expand the Two Holy Mosques and equip Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites.
The president of the European Islamic Institute in Brussels, Cheikh Abd Al-Hadi, also spoke of the efforts of the Kingdom as reflected in the expansion of the Two Holy Mosques and the reception of over 2 million pilgrims who were able to perform Hajj this year.
The executive director of Al-Risalah Scandinavian Foundation, Hussein Al-Daoudi, thanked the Kingdom for its efforts in Muslim-minority countries in the West and the ongoing attempts to achieve success in Islamic matters at the regional and international levels, especially the Palestinian cause.
The governor of Strasbourg Mosque in France, Cheaib Al-Sukari, said that the Kingdom seeks to unify the Islamic nation and advocate for just causes in order to overcome obstacles. He emphasized the important and effective role of the Kingdom in supporting the joint work at the Arab and Islamic level, and assisting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in development and cultural spheres in Islamic member states.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 15 September 2019

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.