‘Juhayman: 40 years on:’ Arab News’ multimedia project tells full story of 1979 Makkah siege

Updated 19 November 2019

‘Juhayman: 40 years on:’ Arab News’ multimedia project tells full story of 1979 Makkah siege

  • Featuring interviews with key players such as Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s English-language newspaper tells the full story of the unthinkable event that cast a shadow over its society for decades
  • As part of its Deep Dive series online, featuring documentary-style multimedia stories, Arab News looks back at this event in a way no Saudi publication has done before

Forty years ago this week, on Nov. 20, 1979, a group of militants did the unthinkable: They seized the Grand Mosque in Makkah, taking people hostage inside in a two-week standoff with Saudi forces.

Until recently, the crisis remained too painful for Saudis to examine fully for almost four decades. Now Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s leading English-language daily, is looking back at the event in a way that no publication in the Kingdom has done before: with a multimedia Deep Dive story online at arabnews.com/juhayman-40-years-on.

“The 1979 attack on Makkah’s  Grand Mosque halted major social development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, negatively affecting a progressing nation for generations to come,” said Rawan Radwan, the lead reporter on the project, who is based in Jeddah. “At Arab News, we delved deep into the matter to uncover the story of Juhayman, the terrorist who seized the holiest site and shook the Islamic world. It’s a story that for many years struck fear in the hearts of the Saudi people, yet has not been covered in such depth in local or international media — until now.”

Arab News launched its Deep Dive series earlier this year as an engaging new way to showcase its in-depth storytelling on key topics, enlivened by audio, video and animated graphics. Its first story was an in-depth account of the space mission by the first Arab astronaut, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman; the siege of Makkah is another story from the Kingdom’s past that it chose to revisit.

Extensive research was conducted over two months in several cities, including Makkah itself, and involved teams in five of Arab News’ bureaus: Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, London and Beirut. The team interviewed key players such as Prince Turki Al-Faisal, then head of the General Intelligence Directorate, and re-created what happened in a series of interactive maps.


Juhayman: 40 years on
On the anniversary of the 1979 attack on Makkah's Grand Mosque, Arab News tells the full story of an unthinkable event that shocked the Islamic world and cast a shadow over Saudi society for decades






Four held in raid on Turkish news office in Cairo

Updated 16 January 2020

Four held in raid on Turkish news office in Cairo

  • At least one of those detained is thought to be a Turkish national

CAIRO: Four people have been arrested in a raid by Egyptian security forces on the Cairo offices of the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency.

At least one of those detained is thought to be a Turkish national. Egypt’s charge d’affaires in Ankara was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, who demanded an explanation. Turkey has no diplomatic representation in Cairo.

The ministry called for those arrested to be released immediately. “The raid … is an act of harassment and intimidation against the Turkish press, and we strongly condemn it,” the ministry said.

The raid on Tuesday night has further ratcheted up tensions between Turkey and Egypt, with the two countries backing opposite sides in the conflict in Libya, and alarm in Cairo over a new maritime border treaty between Ankara and the UN-backed Libyan government in Tripoi.

The agreement threatens plans by Egypt and Israel to export gas to Europe, and Egypt has described it as “illegal and not binding.”

Egypt’s Ministry of Defense published video footage this week of military exercises viewed by analysts as a show of strength, and a warning to Ankara not to intervene militarily in Libya.

“Turkey has made progress in recent weeks in the eastern Mediterranean and in Libya, toward peace and stability,” Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.

The spokesman said Egypt was “unable to play a constructive role in achieving regional peace,” and “clearly feels insecure enough to target the media.”