Pakistani and Saudi Arabian special forces in counter-terrorism training

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Troops take part in Al-Shehab 2 counter terrorism training exercise
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Troops take part in Al-Shehab 2 counter terrorism training exercise
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Troops take part in Al-Shehab 2 counter terrorism training exercise
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Troops take part in Al-Shehab 2 counter terrorism training exercise
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Troops take part in Al-Shehab 2 counter terrorism training exercise
Updated 05 December 2017

Pakistani and Saudi Arabian special forces in counter-terrorism training

ISLAMABAD: Special forces from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are taking part in a joint military exercise. They have been engaged in the training since Nov. 25 in a joint counter terrorism training program at the Prince Naif Security City in Riyadh, a Pakistan military press release revealed.

The joint exercise, “Al-Shehab 2,” in which special forces of both countries are participating, is a two week long program that runs until Dec. 10, said the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army’s media wing.

The Pakistani contingent of 68 officers and soldiers of the country’s elite Special Services Group (SSG) are training alongside Saudi Arabia’s finest military troops and officers.

The Pak-Saudi exercise is a follow up to “Al-Shehab 1,” held last year in Pakistan. It is focused on learning from each other’s fighting forces’ experiences in the field of counter terrorism and to strengthen bilateral cooperation to benefit both nations.

“Such exercises have more of symbolic value rather than any operational significance,” retired Brigadier Saad Muhammad told Arab News.

He said both countries enjoyed good relations in many areas apart from religion.

The retired army officer added: “It conveys a message that the two countries are close allies and in case either of the two countries faces any security threat, they will come to each other’s help. The exercise will ease joint operations should the need arise.”


Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.