King Salman’s humanitarian gesture to host, facilitate Hajj pilgrims lauded

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah after a successful Hajj rituals. (SPA)
Updated 10 September 2017

King Salman’s humanitarian gesture to host, facilitate Hajj pilgrims lauded

MADINAH: The Guests of the King Salman for Hajj and Umrah program in Madinah expressed their thanks and appreciation for being selected by the program to perform Hajj this year.
The guests praised the great services, continuous efforts and mega-projects carried out and being implemented by the Saudi government at the Two Holy Mosques and holy sites to facilitate Hajj for pilgrims.
Bashir Shakir Idris, a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, thanked the government for the care and concern pilgrims have received.
Swiss pilgrim Mariam Nasser Mabrouk expressed her pleasure for being hosted through this program, which she described as an extension of the Islamic efforts exerted by the Saudi government and a noble humanitarian act.
She considered the program as “a link between Muslims around the world. They meet in one place for one purpose.”
Mabrouk also said that “what the program offers of cultural and awareness programs, books and visits to various religious, cultural and historical places are an enrichment added for the participants, especially with regard to Islamic history, the Prophet’s biography and the architecture of the Two Holy Mosques.”
Al-Wahi Khair Al-Buhtiar, the third-place winner in the Hadith Memorizing Competition for the Asia-Pacific region, praised the efforts made by the program’s staff for facilitating bookings and receptions.
Mahmoud Abu Yusuf Al-Safri of Malaysia expressed his admiration of what he saw of the development and expansion projects of the Grand Mosque.
“The efforts of the Saudi government are clear and appreciated by the whole world,” said one of Vietnam’s pilgrims. He also stressed that “these tremendous efforts are much appreciated and can’t be ignored.”
Afdhal Ahmad Aslam, among Pakistan’s pilgrims, commended the “facilities, projects and expansions carried out to serve pilgrims in the Two Holy Mosques and the holy places to help pilgrims perform their rituals.”
Pilgrim Matari Mohammed of the Comoros considered the hosting by King Salman to perform the Hajj as an extension of the interest of the leadership of Saudi Arabia in Muslim concerns, and “a continuance of the process of good and giving being done by the leaders of the Kingdom to Islamic work.”
Farida Salahuddin from Thailand expressed her thanks to King Salman for what she saw of the mega-projects in Makkah and Madinah, which facilitated their Hajj performance.
Argentine pilgrim Rouen Daniel Khatib congratulated King Salman and the noble Saudi people on the success of the pilgrimage this year.


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.