Extreme-sports star hails the transformation of Saudi Arabia

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Sommer, who began skydiving in 2007, has completed jumps and in many countries around the world, including China, Brazil and a number of locations in the Middle East. (Photo/ Laura Alho)
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The Norwegian professional skydiver, BASE jumper and wingsuit flyerJokke Sommer flies over Al-Soudah. (Photo/ Laura Alho)
Updated 06 September 2019
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Extreme-sports star hails the transformation of Saudi Arabia

  • The nature at Al-Soudah was very beautiful as well; it was green and surprising, says Jokke Sommer

AL-SOUDAH: The tourism mega projects that are underway in Saudi Arabia will change the world’s perception of the Kingdom, according to extreme-sports athlete Jokke Sommer. The Norwegian professional skydiver, BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer recently displayed his aerial skills in Asir region as part of the Al-Soudah summer festival season, and said that he had a very good experience during his stay. He urged others to visit and see the Kingdom for themselves, and how differs from the preconceptions they might have, based on a misleading image often projected by the international media.
“Once Saudi opens up tourism more, this will change automatically,” he said. “People will see the country is not what people or the media have told them.”
Sommer, who began skydiving in 2007, has completed jumps and in many countries around the world, including China, Brazil and a number of locations in the Middle East. He said that Saudi Arabia compares favorably.
“What makes Al-Soudah cool is mostly the people the culture and the fact that everyone is curious about what we are doing and so open and peaceful,” he said. He added that he was also impressed by the terrain and natural beauty of the mountainous Asir region, which was perfect for the wingsuit flyers taking part in the festival.
“The nature there was very beautiful as well; it was green and surprising,” said Sommer. “We normally think the Middle East is a lot of sand and rocks but it was really nice to fly over green
as well.”

FASTFACT

Wingsuit jumpers wear a suit that has extra fabric between the legs and under the arms. This allows them to glide great distances after jumping from an aircraft or from a jump point, increasing their time in the air before deploying a parachute.

However, it was the people of Asir that really made his first visit to the Kingdom feel special, he added, despite receiving negative comments from some people around the world when he told them he was visiting Saudi Arabia.
“When you are [in the Kingdom] and you see it, you see that women are treated with more respect than in the western world,” he said. “It’s very strange because the whole concept is that Saudi Arabia and its people are not free, in that sense. I feel that Saudi Arabians are such peaceful people who simply just enjoy life.”
Wingsuit jumpers wear a suit that has extra fabric between the legs and under the arms. This allows them to glide great distances after jumping from an aircraft or from a jump point, increasing their time in the air before deploying a parachute. BASE jumping involved parachuting or wingsuit flying from from fixed points or objects. BASE is an acronym for building, antenna, span (such as a bridge) and earth (such as a cliff or mountainside). Jumps by Sommer have been featured in a number of internet videos and web series.


Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry displays Iranian drones, cruise missiles used in Aramco attacks

Updated 8 min 1 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry displays Iranian drones, cruise missiles used in Aramco attacks

  • Defense ministry spokesman says attacks were “unquestionably” sponsored by Iran
  • Investigations are still underway to pinpoint the exact launch location, but definitely not yemen

RIYADH:

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia displayed Iranian drones and cruise missiles that it said were used in an attack against Aramco facilities at the weekend.

The attacks were “unquestionably” sponsored by Iran but investigations are still underway to pinpoint the exact launch location, defense ministry spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said at a news conference in Riyadh.

Weapons used to attack #SaudiArabia on display ahead of Defense Ministry press conference about Iranian involvement in Saturday's #Aramco attacks

However he said that the strikes came from the north and  definitely not come from Yemen, where Houthi militants claimed they had been launched from on Saturday. 

He said a total of 25 drones and missiles were launched at Khurais oil field and Abqaiq processing plant.  They included Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and “Ya Ali” cruise missiles. The same missiles have been used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, he said.

“The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran," he told a news conference. “The evidence ... that you have seen in front of you, makes this undeniable.”

Earlier, the Saudi ambassador to London said Iran was almost certainly behind the attacks on an oil processing facility and an oil field that cut the Kingdom’s oil production by half. 

The US has blamed Iran for the attacks and officials told Reuters that they originated in south-western Iran and involved cruise missiles and drones.

Iran-backed Houthi militants initially claimed they had carried out the attack from Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is part of a coalition supporting government forces fighting the militia. 

*With Reuters