Madinah welcomes nearly 345,000 Hajj pilgrims

Madinah welcomes nearly 345,000 Hajj pilgrims
More than 265,000 pilgrims had already left Madinah and were on their way to the holy sites in Makkah, while almost 80,000 were still in the city. (AFP)
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Updated 01 July 2022

Madinah welcomes nearly 345,000 Hajj pilgrims

Madinah welcomes nearly 345,000 Hajj pilgrims
  • The Kingdom is allowing up to one million people to perform Hajj this year

RIYADH: Around 345,000 pilgrims from across the world have so far arrived in Madinah to perform Hajj this year, according to official figures reported by the Saudi Press Agency on Friday.

The Kingdom is allowing up to one million people to perform Hajj this year, welcoming foreign pilgrims for the first time in two years, during which COVID-19 restrictions meant the annual pilgrimage was limited to residents of the country.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that almost 279,000 people had landed at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport since the start of the first Hajj flights, while around 66,000 pilgrims had arrived by land.

More than 265,000 pilgrims had already left Madinah and were on their way to the holy sites in Makkah, while almost 80,000 were still in the city, it said.

Authorities in Madinah are working around the clock to ensure the best experience for visitors, the ministry added.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques confirmed its readiness to receive pilgrims, saying it had mobilized 10,000 workers.

The presidency also said that live translation of the Arafat Day sermon, one of the most important events in the Islamic calendar, has been expanded to include 14 languages as Saudi Arabia’s leadership seeks to convey a message of moderation and tolerance to the widest possible audience.

The sermon will be available in English, French, Malay, Urdu, Persian, Russian, Chinese, Bengali, Turkish, Hausa, Spanish, Indian, Swahili and Tamil.


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 23 min 10 sec ago

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.


Saudi authorities arrest resident with 50kgs of hashish in Asir’s Rijal Alma’a

Saudi authorities arrest resident with 50kgs of hashish in Asir’s Rijal Alma’a
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi authorities arrest resident with 50kgs of hashish in Asir’s Rijal Alma’a

Saudi authorities arrest resident with 50kgs of hashish in Asir’s Rijal Alma’a
  • The Yemeni resident had hidden the narcotics in the vehicle he was driving when authorities discovered drugs, according to SPA

Authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested a resident who was in possession of 50 kilograms of hashish in the Rijal Alma’a governorate in the Asir region, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday. 

The Yemeni resident had hidden the narcotics in the vehicle he was driving when authorities discovered drugs, according to SPA. 

Saudi Arabia will continue on attempts to import and export drugs to preserve public security and protection, the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority said in a statement on Friday, after more than one million contraband pills were found hidden in a consignment that came into the Kingdom through the port of Jeddah.

The authority called on citizens and residents to report any smuggling-related crimes and violations of the provisions of the unified customs system in complete secrecy.


Saudi Arabia expands Umrah with visa allowance

Saudi Arabia expands Umrah with visa allowance
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi Arabia expands Umrah with visa allowance

Saudi Arabia expands Umrah with visa allowance
  • The Visit Saudi platform provides e-services, including the issuance of electronic visas and purchasing of Umrah bundles. The service is available at visitsaudi.com/ar.
  • Move targets Vision 2030 goal of 30m pilgrims per year

JEDDAH: All Saudi visa holders are now permitted to perform Umrah in the wake of a decision by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

The move aims to ease bureaucracy and open the pilgrimage to more visitors — a target of Vision 2030.

It comes in conjunction with the start of this year’s Umrah season and as part of efforts to facilitate rituals, provide high-quality services and enrich the religious experiences of pilgrims.

The Maqam platform connects pilgrims with authorized tourism companies and agencies. Users from outside the Kingdom can also apply for an Umrah visa, as well as choose service bundles. The platform is available at maqam.gds.haj.gov.sa.

The Visit Saudi platform provides e-services, including the issuance of electronic visas and purchasing of Umrah bundles. The service is available at visitsaudi.com/ar.

Holders of on-arrival visas, among countries eligible for electronic visas, as well as US, UK and Schengen visa holders, can carry out Umrah rituals with ease, provided that the visas are used for one time only and carry the issuing country’s seal.

Family visit and personal visit visa holders can also perform the pilgrimage by booking an appointment through the Eatmarna application during their visits to relatives and friends in the Kingdom, and by applying to the Unified National Visa Platform.

To carry out Umrah rituals, visitors must have comprehensive medical insurance that covers — among other things — the treatment costs of COVID-19, personal incidents resulting in death and disability, and flight delays or cancellations.


Saudi FM holds talks with Maltese counterpart on bilateral relations

Saudi FM holds talks with Maltese counterpart on bilateral relations
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi FM holds talks with Maltese counterpart on bilateral relations

Saudi FM holds talks with Maltese counterpart on bilateral relations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Maltese counterpart Ian Borg during his visit to Malta.
The two ministers held a session of talks, during which they reviewed aspects of relations between the Kingdom and Malta and ways to strengthen and develop them in various fields, in addition to discussing the most prominent issues of common interest.
The meeting and the talks were attended by the Deputy to Italy, Faisal bin Hanif Al-Qahtani, and the director-general of the Office of the foreign minister’s Abdul Rahman Al-Daoud.