12 civilians injured in Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport

12 civilians injured in Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport
Abha airport, along with its neighboring city Khamis Mushait, had seen repeated drone and missile strikes in the recent years. (File/AFP)
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Updated 10 February 2022

12 civilians injured in Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport

12 civilians injured in Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport
  • The coalition asked people in Sanaa to evacuate civilian sites that are being used militarily for the next 72 hours
  • 200 members of militia killed in unsuccessful attempts to break the Yemeni army’s siege of Haradh

AL-MUKALLA: Twelve civilians were injured by a drone attack targeting Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport on Thursday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen said Saudi air defenses thwarted a cross-border attack at 12:05 p.m that involved a booby-trapped drone launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in a deliberate attempt to target civilians at the airport.

Shrapnel rained down when the drone was intercepted and fell inside the airport grounds, coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki said, and part of a glass facade was damaged. Two Saudi citizens, four Bangladeshis, three Nepalese, an Indian, a Filipino, and a Sri Lankan were injured.

Al-Maliki said the attack on the airport, civilian travelers and workers constituted a war crime.

Meanwhile, King Salman received a call from US President Joe Biden on Wednesday, during which the two leaders stressed the need to strengthen cooperation and achieve stability in the region. The continuing attacks by the Houthi militia against civilians in the Kingdom were also on the agenda.

The king praised the US commitment to supporting the Kingdom in the defense of its land and citizens. He also said that Saudi Arabia supports Washington’s efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

In another development in Yemen, at least 200 Houthis were reportedly killed in the past 24 hours during consecutive failed attacks to break a siege by Yemeni government troops on pockets of rebel fighters inside the city of Haradh.

A Yemeni military official told Arab News on Thursday that the militia had mounted many attacks on troops outside the city, which is in the northern province of Hajjah, in an attempt to free hundreds of its fighters.

“The Houthis are aggressively attacking Haradh to free senior military leaders and foreign experts and fighters besieged in the city,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

Backed by coalition air support, government troops on Feb. 4 took control of a strategic mountain range on the eastern edges of Haradh and later announced they had surrounded Houthi fighters. The government troops pushed into the city when Houthis refused to surrender, triggering heavy fighting that left dozens of the rebels dead. The Houthis planted landmines and booby-traps to obstruct the advancing forces.

The city is strategically important because is close to the border with Saudi Arabia and the location of the largest border crossing. Regaining control of the city would pave the way for the reopening of the crossing, which has been closed for seven years, which would offer new sources of revenues for the cash-strapped government of Yemen.

Yemen’s Army and the coalition could also transport military equipment and fighters from the Saudi side of the border to help reinforce government troops battling the Houthis in nearby districts.

Yemen’s Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that its forces had seized control of Al-Hejah mountain range, east of Haradh city.

On Thursday, the Yemeni military official said the Houthis have been using more advanced explosives-rigged, unmanned aerial vehicles than usual during the fighting in Haradh.

“We shot down two drones; one on Thursday and the other on Wednesday,” he said. “Those are different from other kinds of drones used in the past in terms of shape, the number of propellers and their cargos.”

In Marib province, meanwhile, government troops advanced into a new district as part of a large military operation to weaken the Houthis, who have been waging a deadly offensive on the central city of Marib since early last year.

Officials said that army troops and allied tribesmen seized control of small areas in the district of Majazer, north of Marib, opening up a new front in the oil-rich province to push the Houthi further away from Marib.

When the coalition redeployed hundreds of troops from the country’s west coast to central provinces late last year, government troops took the initiative in fighting and managed to thwart Houthi attempts to control Marib city.

The Yemeni Landmine Monitor, an organization in Yemen that documents landmine victims, said that 36 civilians, including six specialists in removing mines, were killed and 35 injured in January as a result of the thousands of landmines planted by the Houthis in many provinces.

When the government’s Giant Brigade launched an offensive on Shabwa and Marib, the Houthis deployed large numbers of landmines to block the assault. Most of the civilian casualties of the Houthi landmines were among displaced people.


Riyadh prepares for opening of 14 top international restaurant brands

Riyadh prepares for opening of 14 top international restaurant brands
Updated 3 min 53 sec ago

Riyadh prepares for opening of 14 top international restaurant brands

Riyadh prepares for opening of 14 top international restaurant brands
  • The new fine-dining establishments, which include five with Michelin-starred restaurants in other countries, are due to open in December

RIYADH: More than a dozen renowned international restaurant brands are set to open in Riyadh by the end of the year, including several with establishments in other countries that have earned a coveted Michelin star.

As the tastes of Saudis develop, the Kingdom is increasingly becoming a focus for major dining brands, which are contributing to the development of the tourism and entertainment sectors in the country as well as the national economy. During Riyadh Season celebrations, for example, residents and visitors to the capital have spent more than SR6 billion ($1.6 billion), according to the General Entertainment Authority.

Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan, who chairs the board of directors at Yakoon, a leading company in the hospitality industry, said that 14 international restaurant brands are due open in the capital in December. Five of them have establishments elsewhere in the world that have been awarded a Michelin star, an honor considered by many to represent the pinnacle of fine dining.

The new restaurants in Riyadh will include L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, La Cantine du Faubourg, Sass Cafe and MusicHall. Renowned in Europe and elsewhere, they are considered to be among the most luxurious and distinguished in the world. In the Kingdom, they will be located in areas such as The Boulevard, Al-Bujairi in Diriyah, and King Abdullah Financial District.

“Bringing these restaurants to the Kingdom is in line with the development we are witnessing in the tourism and entertainment sectors,” Prince Saud told Arab News.

“We expect this category of restaurants in the food and nutrition sector to contribute positively to the tourist’s journey and the entertainment experience of the citizen and resident.”

He said his team’s investment aims reflect the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, including the development of the Kingdom as a global tourism destination. Part of this involves the comprehensive development of the entertainment sector and the promotion of a luxurious lifestyle, he added, and as part of its efforts to establish itself as a global destination, Riyadh will continue to enhance its image by embracing fine-dining brands.

“We aim to create an exceptional experience in the tourist’s journey or the experience of the citizen and resident in the food sector in the Kingdom, and bringing international restaurants to Riyadh and other cities of the Kingdom will contribute to enhancing the region’s touristic position,” Prince Saud said.


Education and training exhibition kicks off in Jeddah

Education and training exhibition kicks off in Jeddah
Updated 9 sec ago

Education and training exhibition kicks off in Jeddah

Education and training exhibition kicks off in Jeddah
  • Representatives from the US, Canada, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Malaysia, Switzerland, the UAE, Bahrain, Britain and Jordan were present

JEDDAH: The third Middle East Education and Training Exhibition, the leading student recruitment event in the region, launched on Tuesday at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Conferences to cater to the rising academic aspirations of the student community in the Kingdom.

This exhibition, which runs until Thursday, is being held under the patronage of the Ministry of Education. Featuring more than 120 leading universities and training institutes from across the world, the show presents an array of undergraduate and postgraduate academic and occupational courses to help local and expat students hunting for higher education, professional development, and training options.

Additionally, students can leverage the expertise and services of career guidance counselors attending the event.  

Representatives from the US, Canada, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Malaysia, Switzerland, the UAE, Bahrain, Britain and Jordan are present alongside local institutions and universities.

The opening ceremony was held in the presence of Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi, governor of Jeddah. At the opening ceremony, the Jeddah governor emphasized on the importance of education as one of the basic pillars of the comprehensive and sustainable development process.

He pointed out that Saudi Arabia pays great attention to the advancement of education under the guidance of the country’s wise leadership in developing a world-class higher education system to prepare the youth for the future.

While touring the exhibition, Arthur James Bell, public officer at the Consulate General of the US, told Arab News that he was “very pleased and proud to see this reopening and reimagining of Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the world in terms of educational institutions. 

“We, as the US, are so happy to see 28 separate education institutions participating this year, and we know that this number will grow in the coming editions. We all know the history between the two countries in terms of education cooperation,” he added.

Bell continued: “Hundreds of thousands of Saudi students have been educated in the US, and many of them have returned home and are now actively contributing to the ambitious 2030 Vision.”

Meanwhile, Waleed Wakid, CEO of ICON International for Exhibitions, noted that the exhibition serves the needs of the local student community and offers education providers the opportunity to personally engage with aspiring students.

“Furthermore, it gives students the opportunity to compare the various study alternatives available to them, evaluate fee structures, and get information that is crucial to their decision-making process,” he said.

The exhibition will also include several specialized workshops, with the participation of specialists and researchers in the various fields of the exhibition. The workshops will be held in conjunction with the exhibition, equipped with the latest equipment and modern technologies.


Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan celebrate 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations

Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan celebrate 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations
Updated 04 October 2022

Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan celebrate 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations

Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan celebrate 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations
  • Kingdom was one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan after 1992 independence
  • Azerbaijani FM announces support for Saudi Expo 2030 bid

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jehon Bermov celebrated 30 years of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

A ceremony was held at the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baku. 

In his opening speech at the ceremony, Bermov announced his country’s support for the Kingdom’s candidacy to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh. 

Furthermore, he praised the Kingdom’s historical support for Azerbaijan and added that his country’s leadership is eager to develop the relationship. 

In turn, Prince Faisal emphasized that the two countries’ relations had been built on firm grounds since Azerbaijan’s independence in 1992, noting that Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan after its independence. 

Prince Faisal emphasized numerous areas in which the Kingdom and Azerbaijan have collaborated, most notably in the energy sector. These include the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2022 to cover electricity generation in the Caspian Sea, as well as Saudi Arabia’s $300 million investment in the Absheron-Khizi wind power plant, which seeks to produce 240 megawatts of electric power. 

The Saudi foreign minister also emphasized the country’s ongoing cooperation within the framework of international institutions, particularly the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, UN, OPEC and OPEC Plus.


Saudi defense minister discusses joint cooperation with US counterpart

Saudi defense minister discusses joint cooperation with US counterpart
Updated 04 October 2022

Saudi defense minister discusses joint cooperation with US counterpart

Saudi defense minister discusses joint cooperation with US counterpart
  • During a call, the two officials reviewed the Saudi-US partnership and ways to strengthen cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed military and defense cooperation with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin on Tuesday.

During a call, the two officials reviewed the Saudi-US partnership and ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

Prince Khalid and Austin also discussed a number of international developments and issues of common concern.

Prince Khalid was appointed as the Kingdom’s minister of defense last week by royal decree after previously serving as the deputy minister of defense.


Saudi Cabinet calls on international community to confront Iranian violations

Saudi Cabinet calls on international community to confront Iranian violations
Updated 04 October 2022

Saudi Cabinet calls on international community to confront Iranian violations

Saudi Cabinet calls on international community to confront Iranian violations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Cabinet on Tuesday renewed calls on the international community to stand up against all Iranian violations that contradict international law. 

It also reiterated its total rejection of all attacks that threaten the security and stability of Iraq

The session was chaired by King Salman at the Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.

During the meeting the Cabinet also approved a Memorandum of Cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the British government and Northern Ireland in the energy sector.