Houthis hit ‘backbone of the global economy’ in Jeddah oil depot strike

Update A view of a fire at Saudi Aramco's petroleum storage facility, after an attack, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia March 25, 2022. (Reuters)
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A view of a fire at Saudi Aramco's petroleum storage facility, after an attack, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia March 25, 2022. (Reuters)
Update The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen said a “hostile” operation by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia targeted an Aramco oil facility in Jeddah. (AN Photo)
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The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen said a “hostile” operation by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia targeted an Aramco oil facility in Jeddah. (AN Photo)
Update Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces destroyed seven drones and a missile launched by the Houthi militia targeting the southern part of the Kingdom, the Coalition said on Friday. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces destroyed seven drones and a missile launched by the Houthi militia targeting the southern part of the Kingdom, the Coalition said on Friday. (SPA)
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Updated 26 March 2022

Houthis hit ‘backbone of the global economy’ in Jeddah oil depot strike

A view of a fire at Saudi Aramco's petroleum storage facility, after an attack, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia March 25, 2022. (Reuters)
  • Huge blaze and plumes of smoke over city
  • Militia aims to undermine world energy security, coalition says

JEDDAH: The Iran-backed militia in Yemen were accused on Friday of threatening global energy security with a wave of drone and missile attacks on oil facilities in the Kingdom.

A huge fire erupted at an Aramco oil storage facility in Jeddah after one attack.

Plumes of black smoke rose over the city and were visible to drivers practicing for the Formula 1 Grand Prix motor race at the Jeddah Corniche circuit.




Smoke from the site could be seen across the city on Friday. (AFP)

F1 authorities said the race would go ahead on Sunday as planned.

The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen said the fire in two tanks at the North Jeddah oil facility had been brought under control, and there were no casualties.

Coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Malki said: “This hostile escalation targets oil facilities and aims to undermine energy security and the backbone of the global economy. These hostile attacks had no impact or repercussions in any way, shape or form on public life in Jeddah.”

The US State Department condemned the Houthi attacks as “unacceptable.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also slammed the attacks. “These strikes put civilian lives at risk and must stop,” he said.

Earlier, Saudi air defenses forces destroyed seven drones and a missile launched by the Houthis targeting the southern part of the Kingdom.  The attacks deliberately targeted civilian areas and energy installations, the coalition said, and threatened both regional and international security.

Last weekend a Houthi assault on the Kingdom caused a temporary drop in output at a refinery and a fire at a petroleum products distribution terminal. On March 11, the group targeted a refinery in Riyadh, causing a small fire.

Saudi Arabia said after those attacks that it would bear no responsibility for any shortage of global oil supplies caused by Houthi attacks, and the Saudi Energy Ministry restated that view on Friday.

The North Jeddah plant stores diesel, gasoline and jet fuel for use in the city. It accounts for over a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s supplies and also provides fuel for a desalination plant.

The Houthis have twice targeted the plant with cruise missiles, once in November 2020 and most recently last Sunday. A UN panel of experts on the war in Yemen described it as a “civilian target.”




Plumes of smoke were visible to drivers practicing for the Formula 1 Grand Prix motor race at the Jeddah Corniche circuit. (Reuters)

“While the facility also supplies the Saudi military with petroleum products, it is mostly supplying civilian customers,” the panel said.

“If it had been out of service for a significant period, the impact on the Kingdom’s economy and the welfare of the residents of the western region would probably have been significant.”


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launches Savvy Games Group strategy

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launches Savvy Games Group strategy
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launches Savvy Games Group strategy

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launches Savvy Games Group strategy

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday unveiled the Savvy Games Group’s strategy, Saudi Press Agency reported.
“Savvy Games Group is one part of our ambitious strategy aiming to make Saudi Arabia the ultimate global hub for the games and esports sector by 2030,” the crown prince said.
“We are harnessing the untapped potential across the esports and games sector to diversify our economy, drive innovation in the sector and further scale the entertainment and esports competition offerings across the Kingdom,” he added.

More to follow...


Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attack on Kurdish region in Iraq

Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attack on Kurdish region in Iraq
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attack on Kurdish region in Iraq

Saudi Arabia condemns Iranian attack on Kurdish region in Iraq

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia on Thursday has strongly condemned the Iranian attacks on the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they had fired missiles and drones at militant targets in several Kurdish sites, killing over a dozen people.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s strong condemnation of the Iranian attacks on Kurdistan Region of the Republic of Iraq, killing and wounding a number of innocent people,” the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its total rejection of all attacks that threaten the security and stability of Iraq, stressing the importance of the international community standing up against all Iranian violations that contradict international laws, charters and norms,” the statement read.


The Kingdom also expressed its deepest sympathy and condolences to the government and people of Iraq.
Thirteen people were killed and 58 wounded in the attacks near Irbil and Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq’s state news agency said, citing its counter-terrorism service in Kurdistan.
Iran’s elite military and security force said they would continue targeting what it called terrorists in the region.


Saudi Arabia’s FM meets Philippines’ Marcos Jr. in Manila 

Saudi Arabia’s FM meets Philippines’ Marcos Jr. in Manila 
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi Arabia’s FM meets Philippines’ Marcos Jr. in Manila 

Saudi Arabia’s FM meets Philippines’ Marcos Jr. in Manila 

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with the Philippines’ President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Manila, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday. 
The two discussed bilateral ties and friendly relations between the two countries, as well as joint cooperation in various fields, according to SPA. 
Prince Faisal conveyed King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s greetings to the Philippines’ president. 
The reception was also attended by Hisham Al-Qahtani, the Kingdom’s Ambassador to the Philippines, and Abdulrahman Al-Daoud, Director-General of the Minister of Foreign Affairs office.


Westlife dazzles AlUla with sparkling performance

Westlife dazzles AlUla with sparkling performance
Updated 29 September 2022

Westlife dazzles AlUla with sparkling performance

Westlife dazzles AlUla with sparkling performance
  • Maraya’s stunning mirror hall could not contain fan joy
  • Irish band played mix of old favorites and new songs

ALULA: Maraya’s stunning mirror concert hall here was the scene of wild excitement and lump-in-the-throat nostalgia on Wednesday when Westlife performed for what appeared to be some of their most dedicated fans from Saudi Arabia and other parts of the world.

The Irish boy band had the crowd cheering even before they came on stage in AlUla for their “Wild Dreams Tour.” The audience erupted when the four singers eventually emerged to play their most recent hit “Starlight,” with the fans then singing every line in unison.

It was impossible to keep them in their seats. And when the singers shouted “jump,” they were on their feet.

The vocalists Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne have been through thick and thin. In 2012 they disbanded temporarily, only to come back bigger and stronger in 2018.

Diana Philander from Cape Town said she has been following them since a teenager. “I was 17 back then and I’m 40 now, so this is one of my favorites. I have been practicing the songs for the whole week and I loved every minute of it.”

Westlife gave fans a chance to snap pictures of them, by posing in all direction. (AN photo by Abdulrahman Binshalhoub)

“Thank you to the Saudi government for making all of this possible, there is just one word I can say and that is, it was just superb.”

The concert was a real treat for fans, with the band playing some of their biggest hits.

Before performing the very first song of their career, “Swear it Again,” Egan stepped forward and said: “Can you believe it? This song came out when we were little boys.”

Later Filan said: “We have played in a lot of places in the world, but honestly Maraya might be the coolest venue we have ever played in.”

“Everything was so beautiful, the ride here was absolutely stunning, and of course, you guys are so beautiful,” Filan said pointing toward the audience. “We have a beautiful family and we have always considered our fans as a part of this family, so thank you for being amazing.”

They also played “When you’re looking like that,” “Money, Money, Money” (originally sung by ABBA), and “Flying Without Wings.”

With fans calling for more, the band returned after briefly walking off the stage and performed “Hello My love” and several other songs.

Jessan Domingo Sanson from the Philippines said she traveled all the way from Dhahran to see the stars. “I have been a fan since I was in sixth grade, and I am now 34 years old.”

The band bid their fans a bittersweet good bye. (AN photo by Abdulrahman Binshalhoub)

Sanson was so excited she could barely form coherent sentences, instead expressing herself with shrieks and gestures. Sitting in the front row, she was over the moon because the band members repeatedly moved forward to wave and make heart signs to her and the other audience members.

“I am just glad that it was their first time here in Saudi Arabia, and I didn’t miss a chance to see them,” she said.

Having been together on the road for 23 years, the singers seemed clearly comfortable on stage, bantering and laughing while performing. They applauded each other when hitting particularly expressive and beautiful notes.

Thomas Wallace Thompson, a Scot who lives in AlUla, said: “It was amazing, a boy band from the 90s was here, all the girls were screaming. I am a man who is nearly 60 years old and still found everything extremely enjoyable. I have so many friends who are fans of Westlife and they are so jealous of me.”

Aisha Ahmed, a Saudi fan who was present at the concert with her husband, said: “The band kept saying that they are taking us through their songs, but it really felt like I went back in time, suddenly I was 13 again and I was listening to them in my bedroom, suddenly I was back with my high school friends dancing with our hairbrushes to their songs.”

Her voice wavered: “I am so emotional right now.”


KSRelief ramps up aid efforts in Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan

KSRelief ramps up aid efforts in Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan
Updated 29 September 2022

KSRelief ramps up aid efforts in Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan

KSRelief ramps up aid efforts in Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) ramped up its aid efforts in Pakistan, Yemen and Sudan.
The KSRelief teams continued to distribute various relief aid to people in flood-hit Pakistan, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
About 2,988 food baskets were distributed on Monday in Sindh and Punjab provinces, benefiting 20,916 people, according to SPA.
In Yemen, with the support of KSRelief, the Artificial Limbs Center project continued offering its medical services to Yemenis who lost their limbs.
The center offered 1,613 services to 551 Yemeni patients last month, SPA reported.
The services included manufacturing and rehabilitating artificial limbs for 250 patients, including the delivery of, measuring, and maintenance of limbs, as well as providing physical therapy sessions and specialized consultations to 301 people.
Meanwhile in Sudan, KSRelief distributed 13 tons and 500 kilograms of food baskets in the River Nile State to 1,340 people, according to SPA.