Saudi FM expresses Kingdom’s solidarity with Iran after helicopter crash

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke with Iran’s acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani during a telephone call on Monday. (File/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke with Iran’s acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani during a telephone call on Monday. (File/AFP)
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Updated 20 May 2024
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Saudi FM expresses Kingdom’s solidarity with Iran after helicopter crash

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke with Iran’s acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani on Monday.
  • Iranian president, foreign minister and seven others died when the aircraft they were traveling in went down on Sunday in a remote area of northwestern Iran

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan expressed the Kingdom’s solidarity with Iran and its people following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash on Sunday. 

During a phone call with Iran’s acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani on Monday, Prince Faisal expressed his condolences over the deaths of the president and his accompanying delegation.

Raisi, 63, his foreign minister and seven others died when the aircraft he was traveling in went down on Sunday in a remote area of northwestern Iran, where the wreckage was only found on Monday morning.


1bn liters of water pumped on Arafat Day

1bn liters of water pumped on Arafat Day
Updated 19 sec ago
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1bn liters of water pumped on Arafat Day

1bn liters of water pumped on Arafat Day

MINA: The Saudi National Water Company has reported that the amount of water that was pumped and distributed to Makkah and the holy sites on Arafat Day reached around 1 billion liters.

It added that the holy sites consumed 286 million liters, while over 704 million liters were distributed through Makkah’s public water systems.

It said the distribution was supported by the supervision and follow-up of the company’s engineers and supervisors from the working areas covering Makkah and the holy sites.

The company said its operations and water supplies work were in accordance with the plans set in advance to serve pilgrims. These plans included pumping water to the holy sites and the Grand Mosque’s facilities 24/7, in addition to maintaining pumping 21 hours per day for the neighborhoods in Makkah.

It emphasized the absence of any disruptions to its operations, affirming that field teams were always ready to handle and address any emergency.

The company said it carried out about 4,840 laboratory tests on Arafat Day to ensure the quality of water provided to pilgrims.


Saudi crown prince receives Eid Al-Adha greetings from Bahraini king

Saudi crown prince receives Eid Al-Adha greetings from Bahraini king
Updated 16 June 2024
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Saudi crown prince receives Eid Al-Adha greetings from Bahraini king

Saudi crown prince receives Eid Al-Adha greetings from Bahraini king
  • King Hamad lauded the exceptional organization witnessed during this year's Hajj season

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call on Sunday from Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa during which they exchanged with them Eid Al-Adha greetings, Saudi Press Agency reported.
King Hamad lauded the exceptional organization witnessed during this year's Hajj season, which facilitated pilgrims performing their religious rituals with safety and ease.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his gratitude to King Hamad for his noble sentiments, asking God to accept the pilgrims’ Hajj and good deeds.


Hajj pilgrims reach Jamarat Bridge

Hajj pilgrims reach Jamarat Bridge
Updated 16 June 2024
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Hajj pilgrims reach Jamarat Bridge

Hajj pilgrims reach Jamarat Bridge
  • It is here Muslims believe devil tried to talk Prophet Ibrahim out of submitting to God’s will
  • Pilgrims then return to Makkah to do Tawaf, circumambulation of Kaaba

RIYADH: Hajj pilgrims on Sunday reached Jamarat Bridge as they advanced through Mina for the final rite, the stoning of the devil, on the first day of Tashreeq.

It is here that Muslims believe the devil tried to talk the Prophet Ibrahim out of submitting to God’s will. On the 10th day of Dul Hijjah, Hajj pilgrims collect small stones that they throw at three pillars in the Jamarat Al-Aqaba, representing the devil.

Huge crowds lined up to perform the rite, many holding umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun. The pilgrims say “Allah-u Akbar” (“God is the greatest”) each time they cast a pebble.

Pilgrims can stone the pillars any time from midday to midnight on the day of the ritual.

After finishing the ritual, male pilgrims traditionally shave or cut their hair and change out of their ihram. Women cut a lock of their hair.

The ihram symbolizes equality, religious unity and the pursuit of spiritual renewal.

Security guards sprayed the pilgrims with water as they braved searing heat to reach the Jamarat complex. Temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius have been recorded at the Hajj this year.

The pilgrims will then return to Makkah to do Tawaf, the circumambulation of the Kaaba.

Junaid Nizami, a pilgrim from Pakistan, told Arab News that he was impressed by the arrangements in place to ensure the safety of pilgrims.

“My experience in Jamarat was good and they prepared very well for the pilgrims. Also, the system (is created) in a way where no one can clash with each other. There are police, medical staff and helpers who are supporting the people.”

After dawn prayers, when pilgrims leave Muzdalifah and proceed to Jamarat to take part in the stoning rite, women and older pilgrims can delegate this responsibility to a male in their spiritual journey.


First phase of 2024 Hajj security plans completed

First phase of 2024 Hajj security plans completed
Updated 16 June 2024
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First phase of 2024 Hajj security plans completed

First phase of 2024 Hajj security plans completed

MAKKAH: Col. Talal bin Abdulmohsen Al-Shalhoub, security spokesperson at the Ministry of Interior, announced during a daily press conference for the 2024 Hajj season the successful completion of the first phase of security plans to lead pilgrims from Makkah to subsequent holy sites.

After spending around 12 hours in Arafat on Saturday for the most important part of Hajj, the over 1.8 million worshippers officially moved to the rocky plains of Muzdalifah in preparation for the final stages of their Hajj.

“The second stage of the journey to the holy sites is currently being implemented to transport pilgrims from Arafat to Muzdalifah, where they will be spending the night before departing to Mina for Eid Al-Adha,” said Al-Shalhoub.

He added that 25 persons found to be violating Hajj regulations were arrested on the night of June 15 for transporting 103 individuals without Hajj permits.

“The Unified Security Operations Centers (911) in Makkah received 52,274 calls from June 14 to 15. These calls varied between security reports, inquiries, and service calls from pilgrims,” he said.

Speaking on the journey to Muzdalifah, Ayed Al-Ghuwaynem, undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs said: “The tranquility and comfort we witnessed today in Arafat enabled the pilgrims to perform rituals and devote themselves to worship and supplication.”

He added that the smooth operations were the fruit of early planning and collective governmental action.

“This was the result of distinguished cooperation from pilgrims’ affairs offices from all countries, as well as pilgrims’ service providers inside and outside the Kingdom,” said Al-Ghuwaynem.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulali, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said that over 112,000 pilgrims have received health care from different providers during the Hajj season, including clinics, emergency departments, hospitals, and intensive care units.


Mashaer metro system transports thousands of pilgrims from Mina to Arafat

Mashaer metro system transports thousands of pilgrims from Mina to Arafat
Updated 16 June 2024
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Mashaer metro system transports thousands of pilgrims from Mina to Arafat

Mashaer metro system transports thousands of pilgrims from Mina to Arafat
  • There are 17 trains in the Mashaer metro fleet, each capable of carrying 3,000 passengers

MAKKAH: Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims used the Mashaer metro system to travel from Mina to Arafat on Saturday, as they began the most important day of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The metro system consists of nine stations located across the holy sites, connected by an 18-kilometer double-track railway, and is capable of accommodating 72,000 passengers per hour in one direction. The journey from Mina to Arafat takes just 20 minutes, with the train traveling at 80 km per hour, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency.

There are 17 trains in the Mashaer metro fleet, each capable of carrying 3,000 passengers. The eco-friendly electric trains significantly reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions by replacing approximately 50,000 passenger buses during the Hajj season.

The trains are managed the Facilities Security Forces, under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior.

Khalil Hasan, an Egyptian pilgrim, said he is performing Hajj for the second time.

“The first time I performed Hajj was nearly 30 years back when I was a schoolteacher in Yanbu. Everything here has unbelievably changed, including the Jamarat Bridge.“Seeing the metro travelling between stations in the holy sites was a wonderful scene that added great glamor to the place and substantial enhancement to the many services provided by the kingdom,” Hasan said.

Previously, he added, he could not have imagined that a pilgrim would be able to reach Arafat from Mina within minutes.

Hasan’s lifelong friend, AbdulTawab, who is accompanying him on the spiritual journey, said that it is his first Hajj experience, and he was amazed by the metro service.

“It is wonderful, and I am grateful to the Kingdom for this metro that has facilitated the movement of pilgrims, especially the elderly, making it easy and comfortable to move from one place to another within the holy places,” he said.