Makkah historical sites to get private sector facelift 

The deal was signed in the presence of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Hajj Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (Supplied)
The deal was signed in the presence of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Hajj Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 22 March 2022

Makkah historical sites to get private sector facelift 

The deal was signed in the presence of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Hajj Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (Supplied)
  • Project will help highlight the locations’ spiritual significance for visitors

MAKKAH: Private sector firms will be invited to undertake maintenance and improvement work on Makkah’s historical sites as part of efforts to highlight the locations’ spiritual significance for residents and visitors.

CEO of the Royal Commission for the Holy City of Makkah and Holy Sites, Abdulrahman bin Farouk Addas, told the Conference and Exhibition of Hajj and Umrah Services that the sites normally witness high numbers of visitors during the Hajj and Umrah seasons.

Jabal Al-Noor, Hira Cave, Jabal Thawr, Jabal Al-Rahma in Arafah, Al-Baia Mosque in Mina, the site of Al-Hudaybiyah peace treaty are among the most popular locations.

With visitor numbers growing, maintenance and renovation are especially important, he said.

SPEEDREAD

With visitor numbers growing, maintenance and renovation are especially important. The need to develop these sites and their surrounding areas will create investment opportunities for the private sector.

Addas said that the need to develop these sites and their surrounding areas will create investment opportunities for the private sector.

More than 70 government, private and nonprofit sectors will take part in the integrated works of Hajj and Umrah to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, he added.

Digitization will be a key feature of the overhaul as Saudi Arabia seeks to improve services and facilities for pilgrims.

“The most important things are activating the structuring of systems and making them more flexible to help make the visitor’s journey rich and enjoyable,” Addas said.

Restructuring of the Umrah visa system has increased options for visitors, making it easier for them to visit, both directly and indirectly. Digitization played a key role in achieving this goal, he added.

Addas highlighted the commission's efforts in upgrading services in Makkah and outlined recent projects, including the Makkah bus project pilot operation due to be completed within months.

The project will deliver a major boost in public transport, as well as services provided to Makkah residents and visitors.

The commission also signed an agreement with Elm, a digital solutions provider, to create an integrated digital and logistical system for transport networks in the city.

Addas said that the agreement comes through the Unified Transport Center (Makkah Transport), which is coordinating planning efforts to provide the required capacity to meet the aspirations of the Saudi Vision 2030.

The agreement covers a number of projects, including an operation center to manage transportation movement, as well as services that will promote economic diversification in Makkah and its holy sites.

Elm CEO Abdulrahman Al-Jadhai said: “This agreement confirms Elm's interest in contributing to the development of the services in Makkah by harnessing its expertise and innovative capabilities in transportation to help facilitate the quality of life for beneficiaries,”

He said that the agreement focuses on the concept of "mobility as a service," which aims to increase the efficiency and capacity of the transport network, ensuring a smooth experience for all users.

 


Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu
Updated 17 sec ago

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Armed Forces and US Marine Corps on Saturday launched a joint training exercise along the Red Sea coast in the western city of Yanbu, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said.

The “Outrageous Anger 22” exercise was inaugurated in the presence of Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Dibais, commander of the western sector, and Maj. Gen. Paul Rock, commander of the Marine Corps at the US Central Command, as well as senior officers from the Saudi armed forces and US Army.

An inspection tour included sites where the two forces will conduct the joint operations.

Col. Saud Al-Aqili, commander of the exercise, said that it aims to rehearse implementation of bilateral operational and logistical plans, exchange expertise between the two sides, and develop complementary work with civil authorities.

Col. Matthew Hakula, commander of the US forces, said that the joint maneuvers will raise combat readiness, as well as strengthen compatibility between Saudi and US troops.

The month-long drill includes logistical exercises and operations with live ammunition.


Saudi authorities convict African expat of trying to launder nearly $300,000 outside Kingdom

Saudi authorities convict African expat of trying to launder nearly $300,000 outside Kingdom
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi authorities convict African expat of trying to launder nearly $300,000 outside Kingdom

Saudi authorities convict African expat of trying to launder nearly $300,000 outside Kingdom
  • The investigation revealed that the accused attempted to transfer the money by hiding it inside date cartons, which were found in his bag

RIYADH: An African expatriate who attempted to money launder more than $250,000 has been sentenced to two years in prison, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

A source at the Public Prosecution said that the Economic Crimes Prosecution’s investigations found that the man had tried to transfer $297,000, in addition to SR5,000 ($1,331), via King Abdulaziz International Airport outside the Kingdom.

The investigation revealed that the accused attempted to transfer the money by hiding it inside date cartons, which were found in his bag.

It revealed that the seized amounts were derived from practices that violated a number of regulations.

A general criminal case was filed against the offender on charges of money laundering by attempting to smuggle cash outside the Kingdom, and a preliminary ruling was issued against him that included his conviction.

The money was seized, and he will be deported from the country after serving his sentence. The Public Prosecution Office also submitted an appeal for a stiffer penalty for the offender.

The Public Prosecution said it would take anyone seeking to harm the financial system and the national economy to court, and demand severe penalties.

The office frequently highlights, through its social media accounts, the need to disclose financial values and cash amounts that exceed SR60,000 if leaving the Kingdom or passing through any of its ports.


Saudi KSrelief chief tours refugee centers in Poland

Saudi KSrelief chief tours refugee centers in Poland
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi KSrelief chief tours refugee centers in Poland

Saudi KSrelief chief tours refugee centers in Poland

RIYADH: The general-supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, visited a center run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Polish city of Jyszow on Friday, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Al-Rabeeah was accompanied by the Kingdom’s ambassador to Poland, Saad bin Saleh Al-Saleh, and UNHCR representatives on a tour of the facilities, which are closely linked to aid provided as part of Saudi Arabia’s $10 million grant to support refugees from Ukraine, of which $5 million was allocated through KSrelief to the UNHCR.

Al-Rabeeah toured the UNHCR shelter distribution center to see how the aid is delivered to beneficiaries and what plans are in place to respond to refugees’ urgent needs.

Al-Rabeeah said that the housing aid provided by the Kingdom targets nearly 100,000 refugees from Ukraine, and stressed that Saudi Arabia is always keen to support refugees anywhere in the world.

He also commended the high level of professionalism demonstrated by the UNHCR.

Al-Rabeeah also visited a medical transport station in the city of Przemysl, which currently hosts a large number of refugees from Ukraine.

During the visit, the station’s director, Rafał Kijanka, clarified the station’s efforts to provide necessary medical aid to refugees from Ukraine in Poland with financial assistance from Saudi Arabia.


No permit for children below 5 years in Grand Mosque of Makkah

No permit for children below 5 years in Grand Mosque of Makkah
Updated 13 August 2022

No permit for children below 5 years in Grand Mosque of Makkah

No permit for children below 5 years in Grand Mosque of Makkah

RIYADH: Children below five years old can enter the Grand Mosque of Makkah without a permit, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Saturday.

“Parents can take their children who are below five years old without the need to get them a permit,” the ministry said in a Twitter post.

However, children over five years old must obtain a permit through the “Eatmarna” app to enter the holy site.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia announced that holders of all types of visas will be able to perform Umrah during their stay in the Kingdom.


Arab states express solidarity with Saudi Arabia over suicide bomb blast

Arab states express solidarity with Saudi Arabia over suicide bomb blast
Updated 13 August 2022

Arab states express solidarity with Saudi Arabia over suicide bomb blast

Arab states express solidarity with Saudi Arabia over suicide bomb blast
  • Abdullah Al-Shehri detonated a suicide vest when authorities attempted to arrest him in Jeddah, injuring four
  • Arab world praised the Kingdom's effort to maintain security and safeguard lives

DUBAI: Arab nations have expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia on Saturday in the wake of the death of a suicide bomber in Jeddah.

Abdullah Al-Shehri detonated a suicide vest when authorities attempted to arrest him in Jeddah, injuring a Pakistani resident and three security men.

In a statement, the UAE condemned the blast, reiterating its stance against “all threats to the Kingdom’s security and stability.”

The country’s ministry of foreign affairs commended the efficiency of the Saudi security forces during the operation and measures taken to maintain public safety, conveying wishes for a speedy recovery of those injured in the blast.

Bahrain was another Gulf country that reaffirmed “unwavering solidarity” with Saudi Arabia and commended relentless efforts to preserve national security. It also praised the vigilance of security forces in dealing with the wanted man.

Kuwait reiterated its backing to the Kingdom’s effort against security threats. “Kuwait stands by Saudi Arabia and supports all measures it may take to safeguard its security and the safety of its people,” Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by state news agency (KUNA).

The ministry lauded the efficient security operation and the authorities’ targeted efforts to block any bid that poses a threat to the Kingdom’s stability.

In a statement published by the state news agency (PETRA), Jordan conveyed support to the Kingdom “in every step taken to protect its security.”
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Haitham Abu Alfoul praised efforts of Saudi security forces in addressing threats to the Kingdom’s stability and safety.

 

 

Egypt also voiced support to Saudi Arabia’s fight against “all forms of terrorism” and any violation that threatens national security.  

In an official statement, the Egyptian foreign ministry hailed the Kingdom’s proactive measures and capabilities to track down terrorists and safeguard lives.  

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the bombing and praised the Kingdom’s firm action against any threat that undermines its safety and security.

Meanwhile, Arab Parliament Speaker Adel Al-Asoumi stressed on his confidence in the Kingdom’s vigilance to protect its vital facilities, combat terrorism, and ensure the safety of its citizens and expats.

On Friday, the Saudi security state announced the operation of tracking down and arresting Al-Shehri, who was among nine wanted individuals involved in a 2015 terrorist operation that targeted a mosque in Saudi Arabia. He has been listed as a wanted person by authorities in the Kingdom for the past seven years, according to the statement.