Saudi Arabia expresses concern over military escalation in Middle East

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Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia expresses concern over military escalation in Middle East

  • Arab states echoed Saudi sentiment, condemning regional escalation and call for restraint"

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday expressed deep concern over the military escalation in the Middle East and urged all parties involved to exercise restraint, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned of “serious repercussions” on the region and its peoples from the dangers of a wider war, according to SPA.

 

 

Iran on Saturday launched drones and missiles against Israel, making good its threat to retaliate against the Israeli air strike that destroyed an Iranian embassy annex building in Damascus, Syria, killing at least 13 people, including two generals of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.

The Saudi ministry “affirmed the Kingdom’s position calling for the need for the Security Council to assume its responsibility towards maintaining international peace and security, especially in this region that is extremely sensitive to global peace and security, and to prevent the escalation of the crisis that will have serious consequences if it expands,” said the SPA report. 

The Saudi staement was echoed by the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, who emphasized the imperative of upholding regional and global security and stability amidst recent developments in the Middle East.

He urged, in a statement, all involved parties to exercise utmost restraint to forestall further escalation, which could endanger regional stability and civilian welfare. Albudaiwi underscored the necessity of collaborative efforts and diplomatic resolutions to address conflicts and ensure regional security.

He emphasized the pivotal role of the international community in bolstering these peace and stability endeavors, and warned of the potential ramifications of heightened tensions.

The UAE called for the exercise of the utmost restraint to avoid dangerous repercussions in the Middle East, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The UAE also called for resolving conflicts through dialogue and diplomatic channels.

Iran launched missiles and drones at Israel overnight in retaliation for a suspected Israeli air strike on Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus on April 1, raising the threat of a wider regional conflict.

Egypt also urged all parties to exercise utmost restraint to prevent further escalation in the region, aiming to safeguard its stability and the well-being of its inhabitants.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last night, Egypt underscored that the current dangerous escalation in the Iranian/Israeli arena is a direct consequence of previously highlighted concerns. Egypt has consistently warned against the perils of expanding conflicts in the region, particularly stemming from Israeli military actions in Gaza and provocative maneuvers in the area.

The statement emphasized Egypt’s continuous engagement with all relevant stakeholders to mitigate the situation, halt the escalation, and avert the region from spiraling into instability, thereby safeguarding the interests of its people.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Al-Safadi emphasizes that stopping the Israeli aggression on Gaza, ending the occupation, and advancing the two-state solution are essential measures to halt the escalation in the region.


Basking in blessings: Celebrities share their joy ahead of Hajj

Updated 9 sec ago
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Basking in blessings: Celebrities share their joy ahead of Hajj

  • High-profile pilgrims join the millions embarking on the spiritual journey

RIYADH: Every year Muslims from across the world gather in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah ahead of the Hajj pilgrimage, a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual journey for many.

With Hajj beginning on Friday, June 14, pilgrims will congregate in the tent city of Mina, near Makkah.

Among the worshippers will be celebrities taking time out of their busy schedules to connect with their faith.

High-profile figures performing Hajj this year include former Indian professional tennis player and doubles world No. 1 Sania Mirza; UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev; New Zealand heavyweight boxer and former professional rugby player Sonny Bill Williams; Malaysia-based Indian Islamic public orator Zakir Abdul Karim Naik; Pakistani television host and former actress Nida Yasir; and Pakistani actress, film director and producer Reema Khan.

Mirza took to social media to express her hopes and preparations for this “transformative experience,” one of the five pillars of Islam.

In a message on X, she sought “forgiveness for any wrongdoings and shortcomings,” saying that her heart is “filled with gratitude for this chance to seek redemption and spiritual renewal.”

She added: “I pray that Allah accepts my prayers and guides me on this blessed path. I am deeply fortunate and feel immensely grateful. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I embark on this journey of a lifetime. I hope to come back as a better human being with a humble heart and stronger Imaan.”

Mirza will be accompanied by her sister Anam, a fashion curator, entrepreneur and vlogger, and Anam’s Indian cricketer husband Mohammad Asaduddin, son of cricketing legend Mohammad Azharuddin.

Taking to Instagram, Anam wrote: “As I embark on the most significant journey of my life, the pilgrimage to Hajj, I wanted to share a few words with you. This journey is not just a physical one, but a deeply spiritual experience that I’ve been preparing for, both in heart and mind. It’s a time for reflection, repentance, and renewal of faith.”

Makhachev, just days after defeating Dustin Poirier in their UFC title clash, said that he and his family are heading to Makkah to perform Hajj.

Hasib Noor, a scholar with Islamic Relief UK, posted a photo with the fighter on X, writing: “In Madinah — The City of True Humanly Brotherly Love. Allah uses him for the benefit of Islam & Muslims, guides others through him.”

Sonny Bill Williams posted a video message on X with the caption: “I’ve been invited to perform Hajj, Alhamdullilah.”

Williams is only the second person to represent New Zealand in rugby union after first playing for the country in rugby league, and is one of only 43 players to have won the Rugby World Cup twice.

Naik, the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation and Peace TV, praised the Hajj arrangements.

In a message posted on X on Tuesday, he said that his family were invited by Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Saudi Arabia’s Hajj minister.

It added: “Dr. Zakir Naik landed in Jeddah this morning. Alhamdulillaah 3 officials were there to receive him. On entering the VIP lounge he completed immigration & came out of the airport in less than a minute. Never did Dr. Zakir Naik experience such a fast and prompt service in his life & that too during Hajj.”

Pakistani television host Nida Yasir wrote on Instagram as she departed for Saudi Arabia: “Duaon me yaad rakheaga (remember me in prayers). Leaving for Hajj. Kaha suna mauf (Apologies for any wrongdoings).”

Pakistani actress Reema Khan was in Madinah ahead of Hajj.

Sharing a picture of herself on Instagram, she wrote: “Allhumdullilah arrived in Madinah on Friday morning.”


Riyadh doctors working remotely save Jordan pilgrim from stroke in Madinah

Updated 13 June 2024
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Riyadh doctors working remotely save Jordan pilgrim from stroke in Madinah

  • The pilgrim, who has a history of chronic illness, was treated at the Madinah General Hospital

RIYADH: Doctors working remotely from Riyadh helped a 72-year-old Jordanian pilgrim in Madinah survive a stroke this week, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The medical team specializing in telestroke medicine is affiliated with the Seha Virtual Hospital in Riyadh, the SPA reported.

The pilgrim, who has a history of chronic illness, was treated at the Madinah General Hospital.

In a joint effort, doctors from the Ministry of Health, the Seha Virtual Hospital, and the Madinah General Hospital located a brain clot and performed a cerebral catheterization procedure.

The pilgrim is recovering, the SPA said.

A total of 5,466 volunteers, in over 16 locations in Madinah and Makkah, are helping with first aid and emergency care for Hajj pilgrims this year.


Elderly Malaysian pilgrim fulfils decades-long Hajj dream

For years, Safwan applied for Hajj believing the opportunity would coincide with his retirement plans. (SPA)
Updated 13 June 2024
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Elderly Malaysian pilgrim fulfils decades-long Hajj dream

JEDDAH: Malaysian pilgrim Mohammed Safwan, 66, is finally achieving a decades-long dream of performing Hajj.

Hailing from Johor in the south of the country, Safwan worked as an aviation safety technician for Malaysia Airlines, but after retirement had little savings because he had continued to support his family.

When Malaysia’s government approved Safwan’s Hajj request, his children collected $26,000 so that he could fulfil his dream. 

“Nothing compares to the unity and strength of a family, and no joy can match the elation of realizing a dream cherished by the closest of people,” Safwan told the Saudi Press Agency on Wednesday.


Awareness campaign on animal sacrifice launched in Madinah ahead of Eid Al-Adha

Updated 13 June 2024
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Awareness campaign on animal sacrifice launched in Madinah ahead of Eid Al-Adha

  • The campaign is a project of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture's Department of Animal Wealth

RIYADH: A campaign on how to choose the proper animals for sacrifice and ensure that it is free of diseases has been launched in Madinah province ahead of Eid Al-Adha. 

Dubbed "My Sacrifice,” the awareness campaign is a project of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture's Department of Animal Wealth, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

"The campaign, which is supervised by a number of specialists and veterinarians, shows the most important and sound methods for preserving meat and keeping it safe from poisoning," SPA said.

MEWA's awareness campaign on animal sacrifice include field visits and tours to livestock markets and an exhibition in one of the commercial complexes in the region. (SPA)

The activities include field visits and tours to livestock markets "to guide beneficiaries on the most important health requirements that must be met by the sacrifice," it added.

Experts will explain how to choose good sacrificial animals, particularly the age.

An awareness-raising exhibition will also be held in one of the commercial complexes in the region, and a children’s studio, the report said.

Eid Al-Adha this year falls on June 16. 

 

 


Saudi minister inspects National Guard Hajj preparedness

Updated 13 June 2024
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Saudi minister inspects National Guard Hajj preparedness

MAKKAH: Prince Abdullah bin Bandar, the minister of the National Guard, inspected the readiness of ministry forces for the Hajj season, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

This inspection is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to ensure the security of the Hajj, following the directions of the country’s leadership.

During his visit to Makkah’s Al-Shara’i district, Prince Abdullah watched a detailed military parade under the theme of “Ease and Reassurance.”

The parade demonstrated the preparedness and abilities of the ministry’s forces responsible for keeping pilgrims safe during their journey.

Lieutenant General Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Bassami listens to a briefing. (SPA)

Separately, Lieutenant General Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Bassami, the director of Public Security and Chairman of the Hajj Security Committee, inspected the security forces, and the military support authorities participating in serving the pilgrims at the holy sites.

Al-Bassami confirmed that his organization has prepared the required security and organizational plans, which aim to ensure the security, safety and comfort of the pilgrims.

He stressed that the security forces will respond firmly and forcefully to thwart any action that might affect the safety of the pilgrims or whatever hampers facilitating their rituals.