Saudi Arabia leads condemnation of Israeli attacks on Rafah 

Update Saudi Arabia leads condemnation of Israeli attacks on Rafah 
Israeli airstrikes killed at least 45 people Sunday and hit tents for displaced people in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Above, Palestinians search for food among burnt debris from the strike on May 27, 2024. (Reuters)
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Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia leads condemnation of Israeli attacks on Rafah 

Saudi Arabia leads condemnation of Israeli attacks on Rafah 
  • Jordan, Kuwait, and the UAE also condemn ‘ongoing war crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces in Gaza’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday condemned the Israeli attacks on Rafah, the latest of which was the targeting of tents of displaced Palestinians near the warehouses of UNRWA that killed at least 45 people, mostly children and women. 

The foreign ministry, in a statement on social media X, also affirmed the Kingdom’s rejection of the blatant violations by the Israeli occupation forces of all international and humanitarian laws. 

It also called on the international community to intervene immediately.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said Monday that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is completely unacceptable.

Prince Faisal stressed that the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains the foundation for permanent peace and security in the region.

He also noted that there are several European countries planning to officially recognize the State of Palestine to follow Spain, Ireland and Norway, in an attempt to implement the two-state solution.

Jordan also strongly condemned the “ongoing war crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces in Gaza,” particularly the ‘latest incident involved the bombing of a refugee camp near the UNRWA headquarters in western Rafah.

“This act defies the rulings of the International Court of Justice and constitutes a severe violation of international law and international humanitarian law,” a statement from the Jordanian foreign ministry said.

Jordan reiterates its ‘unequivocal condemnation of these actions’, embassy spokesperson Sufian Qudah said.

Qudah described them as blatant violations of international law and international humanitarian law, contravening all human and moral values.

These actions were war crimes that the international community must confront, ensuring accountability for those responsible, he said, calling for an immediate and effective international action to hold Israel accountable for its practices and violations.

Qudah urged the international community to “stop Israel’s continuous breaches of international law and international humanitarian law, to ensure the protection of unarmed civilians in Gaza, and to safeguard aid organizations and their staff, particularly UNRWA.”

Turkiye will ‘do everything possible’ to hold ‘barbaric’ Israel to account over Rafah strikes, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

“We will do everything possible to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable who have nothing to do with humanity,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he was “outraged” over Israel’s latest strikes on Rafah that killed dozens of displaced persons.

“These operations must stop. There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians,” Macron said on social network X.

Kuwait similarly condemned the “Israeli occupation’s aggression on Rafah’s displaced people’s tents, killing tens including women and children.”

In a statement, the foreign ministry asserted that the Israeli occupation’s actions against

Palestinians “exposes its blatant war crimes and unprecedented genocide to the whole world.”

Kuwait called for an “immediate and firm intervention by the international community to compel these forces into adhering to international legitimacy resolutions, including International Justice Court resolution on immediately ceasing aggression against Rafah, and protecting the Palestinian people.”

The United Arab Emirates also condemned what it said was Israel targeting tents of displaced people in Rafah.

The UAE stressed the importance of implementing the ICJ's ruling that demanded Israel immediately halt its military operations in Rafah, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation also issued separate statements condemning the continuous Israeli aggression’ on the UN Relief Works Agency refugee camps in Rafah.”

 “We present this new crime to the international courts to reinforce the evidences to pin these war crimes and indict them,” the Arab League’s Secretary General Ahmad Abul-Gheit said.

OIC Secretary General Hussein Taha meanwhile said the organization was holding the Israeli occupation responsible for its atrocious crimes against Palestinians, and its practices that go against humanitarian principles and violate international law.

The Arab Parliament also strongly condemned the brutal massacre committed by Israeli occupation forces on Palestinian civilians, state news agency SPA reported.

The parliament expressed concern over the actions of the Israeli occupation forces, emphasizing that they have violated laws, norms, international resolutions, and legitimate principles that demand an immediate end to aggression, the statement said.

The attacks came two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to end its military offensive in Rafah, where more than half of Gaza’s population had sought shelter before Israel’s incursion earlier this month.

Tens of thousands of people remain in the area while many others have fled. Footage from the scene of the largest airstrike showed heavy destruction. Israel’s army confirmed the strike and said it hit a Hamas installation and killed two senior Hamas militants. It said it was investigating reports that civilians were harmed.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was in Rafah on Sunday and was briefed on the “deepening of operations” there, his office said.


Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program visit historic Madinah sites

Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
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Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program visit historic Madinah sites

Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
  • 2,000 pilgrims who are family members of Palestinians killed, injured, or taken prisoner by Israeli authorities are being hosted by the program this year

RIYADH: Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah on Thursday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The pilgrims visited the site of the Battle of Uhud, Rumah Mountain, the Cemetery of the martyrs of Uhud, and Quba Mosque as part of a cultural program planned by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance.

They were also informed about the religious significance of each of the sites.

3,322 pilgrims from 88 countries are being hosted by the program for Hajj this year. This figure includes 2,000 pilgrims who are family members of Palestinians killed, injured, or taken prisoner by Israeli authorities. 


Ministry begins issuing Umrah visas for post-Hajj season

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has started issuing Umrah visas for the post-Hajj season. (@AlharamainSA)
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has started issuing Umrah visas for the post-Hajj season. (@AlharamainSA)
Updated 20 June 2024
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Ministry begins issuing Umrah visas for post-Hajj season

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has started issuing Umrah visas for the post-Hajj season. (@AlharamainSA)
  • The new Umrah season will coincide with the start of the new Islamic year on Muharram 1
  • Move aims to streamline arrival of pilgrims to the Kingdom and ensure a smooth experience

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has started issuing Umrah visas for the post-Hajj season, Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The new Umrah season will coincide with the start of the new Islamic year on Muharram 1, and the move aims to streamline the arrival of pilgrims to the Kingdom and ensure a smooth and worry-free experience.

The ministry is working diligently to implement the directives of the Saudi leadership and accommodate more Umrah pilgrims and provide services that meet their needs, SPA said. 


Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations
Updated 20 June 2024
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Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Arab News RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s drug control authority seized large quantities of narcotics and arrested several people involved in smuggling following a number of operations across the Kingdom, reported Saudi Press Agency.

Border guards in Asir province thwarted an attempt to smuggle 123 kg of hashish and 89,355 narcotic tablets, while in Jazan four Ethiopian nationals were arrested for trafficking 75 kg of qat.

In Riyadh, the General Directorate of Narcotics Control arrested two Pakistani residents attempting to sell 26 kg of methamphetamine.

Saudi security authorities are urging people to report any activities related to drug smuggling or promotion by calling 911 in the Makkah, Riyadh and Eastern Province regions, and 999 in the rest of the Kingdom.

Alternatively, information can be emailed to [email protected]. All reports are treated in confidence.


The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage
Updated 20 June 2024
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The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

RIYADH: Drumming is an important and popular part of cultural heritage in Najran, especially during holidays and special occasions.

The art of playing the drums is considered one of the most famous and creative Najran dances and is the only one in which all vocal and movement arts are included. 

Drummers begin collectively in a single straight row as they move in harmony to the beat of drums and tambourines while chanting. 

The dancers then divide into two rows, one beating tambourines and the other the drums. At the same time, they chant poetic verses with a range of melodies and rhythms.

Najran’s cultural dancers once again enthralled families and visitors during this year’s Eid Al-Adha celebrations, treating them to an exhilarating performance.


AI-enhanced visual medical service proved useful during Hajj

AI-enhanced visual medical service proved useful during Hajj
Updated 20 June 2024
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AI-enhanced visual medical service proved useful during Hajj

AI-enhanced visual medical service proved useful during Hajj
  • The service uses a high-tech capsule to conduct the necessary medical examinations within six minutes for each individual

RIYADH: A high-tech visual medical service trialed by the Saudi Ministry of Interior on security personnel during this year’s Hajj season proved successful, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The service uses a capsule enhanced with artificial intelligence and modern communication technology to conduct medical examinations in the workplace, completing each one within six minutes.

A report from the ministry’s General Administration of Medical Services said the capsule enabled 26 physiological measurements, the most important of which were height and weight, body and muscle mass, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels, energy requirements, heart rate, and heart rate variability.

Each person’s health status data is analyzed by the built-in AI system, followed by a remote medical consultation with a doctor. Any necessary medications are then prescribed via the Wasfaty system.

The service reduces the need for hospital or health care center visits and provides a safe, private environment for conducting workplace health examinations and medical consultations.

Personnel currently covered by the service are from the Ministry of Interior and the Presidency of State Security.