New Zealand terror victims’ families arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj

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Families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, arrive at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj. (SPA)
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Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj. (SPA)
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Families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, arrive at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj. (SPA)
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Families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, arrive at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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Families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, arrive at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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James Munro, Ambassador of New Zealand to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, speaks with the families of victims of the March 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand, upon their arrival at Jeddah airport on August 2, 2019, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
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Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2019

New Zealand terror victims’ families arrive in Jeddah to perform Hajj

  • King Salman last month directed that the families of the attack on two mosques that killed 51 people, are hosted for this year’s pilgrimage
  • The reception was attended by New Zealand ambassador to the Kingdom James Monro and other officials

JEDDAH: Family members of victims from the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack have arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.
The pilgrims flew into King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah on Friday.
King Salman last month directed that the families of the attack on two mosques that killed 51 people, are hosted for this year’s pilgrimage.
They were received by the director of passports at the airport, Col. Sulaiman Al-Yousef.
The reception was attended by New Zealand ambassador to the Kingdom James Monro and other officials.
Monro said the invitation from King Salman was an “exceptionally noble gesture.”
“This move was highly appreciated by the people of New Zealand, not only by the visiting pilgrims,” he said.
The attack on worshippers at Al-Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch during Friday prayers in March sparked a global outcry.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist, also wounded 49 people when he opened fire on the mosques. His trial is due to begin next year.
About 6,000 pilgrims will perform Hajj this year as part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ guests program for Hajj and Umrah, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
King Salman has issued directives to host 2,000 family members of Yemeni soldiers, 1,000 pilgrims from Sudan, 200 family members of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, and 1,000 family members of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.
The total number of beneficiaries of the program since its inauguration has reached 53,747 pilgrims from around the world.
Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said that hosting the families during the Hajj season was part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to “confront and defeat terrorism” in all its forms.
Earlier, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin reiterated the Kingdom’s call to pilgrims to dedicate their time to performing Hajj rituals, and to be considerate of their fellow pilgrims.
They must focus on feeling the spirituality of the journey and distance themselves from distractions, such as sectarian or political slogans, the minister said.
“The Kingdom will not tolerate conduct that disturbs Hajj rituals, and the authorities will take the necessary measures to prevent them.”


Arab coalition: Iran provided weapons used to attack Saudi Aramco sites

Updated 13 min 34 sec ago

Arab coalition: Iran provided weapons used to attack Saudi Aramco sites

  • US official says all options, including a military response, are on the table
  • Washington blames Iran for the attack on an oil processing plant and an oil field

RIYADH: Iran provided the weapons used to strike two Saudi Aramco facilities in the Kingdom, the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen said Tuesday.

“The investigation is continuing and all indications are that weapons used in both attacks came from Iran,” coalition spokesman Turki Al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh, adding they were now probing “from where they were fired.”

The coalition supports the Yemen government in the war against the Iran-backed Houthi militants, which claimed they had carried out the attack on Saturday.

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US officials have said Iran was behind the attack on an oil processing plant and an oil field, and that the raid did not come from Yemen, but from the other direction.

“This strike didn't come from Yemen territory as the Houthi militia are pretending,” Maliki said, adding that an investigation was ongoing into the attacks and their origins.

The Houthis have carried out scores of attacks against Saudi Arabia using drones and ballistic missiles.

Al-Maliki labelled the Houthis “a tool in the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the terrorist regime of Iran.”

The attacks against Abqaiq, the world's largest oil processing facility, and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia knocked out nearly half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production.

Oil prices rocketed on Monday after the strikes.

Iran has denied involvement, something Trump questioned Sunday in a tweet saying “we'll see?”

A satellite image of Saudi Aramco infrastructure at Khurais. (US Government/DigitalGlobe/ via Reuters)

On Sunday, the US president raised the possibility of military retaliation after the strikes, saying Washington was “locked and loaded” to respond.

The US has offered a firm response in support of its ally, and is considering increasing its intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia as a result of the attack, Reuters reported.

A US official told AP that all options, including a military response, were on the table, but added that no decisions had been made.

The US government late Monday produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at the oil processing plant at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.

Iraq said the attacks were not launched from its territory and on Sunday Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told him that Washington possesses information that backs up the Iraqi government’s denial.

Condemnation of the attacks continued from both within Saudi Arabia and from around the world.

Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council called Tuesday for concerted efforts to hold those behind the attacks accountable.

Meanwhile, the UN’s special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais had consequences well beyond the region and risked dragging Yemen into a “regional conflagration.”