Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Makkah Emir and Adviser to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, addresses a press conference in Jeddah on Wednesday highlighting the salient features of the proposed Al-Faisaliah city project. The emir is flanked on his right by Deputy Emir of Makkah Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz and on his left by Jeddah Governor Prince Mishal Bin Majed.
Thursday July 27, 2017 / 4 Dhu al-Qaadah 1438
JEDDAH — The new Al-Faisaliah city, the plan for which was approved by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman recently, is expected to reduce pressure on Makkah and Jeddah in the coming 25 years.
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Makkah Emir and Adviser to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, said that the Al-Faisaliah city project will provide 995,000 housing units and it will accommodate 6.5 million people by 2050.
The city will also provide one million jobs in different sectors including health, education, technology and services.
Al-Faisaliah, which will be located in the western part of Makkah, is an extension of Makkah and not a new city, Prince Khaled said.
The emir said that the city will have housing units, commercial centers, entertainment places and will provide health and education services. It will also have an airport that will be under King Abdul Aziz International Airport and a seaport that will be under Jeddah Islamic Port. The city will also have a train, a metro, trams and buses.
The project will be supervised by Makkah Region Development Authority.
Prince Khaled announced that they will start meetings and seminars with the private sector to finalize the studies on the project, which will also make use of cooperation with international and Islamic establishments.
The city will be constructed on an area of 2,450 square kilometers.
Among the important locations in the city are: Haj and Umrah Service Center, Islamic Fiqh complex, government departments, diplomatic quarters, cultural center, trade and business area, shopping arena, and a marina.
The geographical border of the new city will start from the Makkah Haram boundary and will extend up to the Red Sea coast of Al-Shuaiba in the west. Makkah-Jeddah Expressway is located north of the project while Allaith governorate is in the south and west. The Shuaiba Center will be the western seafront area and the eastern border is the Al-Baidaa Center while the Haram boundary in Shumaisi is located in the northeastern area.
The project’s development strategy will be based on economic diversification and reducing dependence on oil and gas. The project will take advantage of the successful global experiments of pumping diverse economic investments as in the case of Singapore and Putrajaya City in Malaysia, and the development projects will be based on renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.
The project targets production of 9.5 gigawatts of power from renewable energy sources. It will also aim to attract 10 million visitors, including Haj and Umrah pilgrims.
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Saudi air defense forces shoot down Houthi missile aimed at Makkah
Makkah - Ramadan 2017
Friday 28 July 2017
JEDDAH: Saudi air defense forces have intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi militias toward the holy city of Makkah on Thursday night, the Arab Coalition command early Friday.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, the coalition command said the Houthi missile was shot down over Al-Wasliya area in Al-Taif province, some 69 kilometers away from the holy city. No damage or injury were reported.
The missile attack was “clearly a desperate attempt to disrupt the Haj season,” said the statement.
It said the alliance command confirmed that the non-stop trafficking of missiles into the Yemeni territories comes from the lack of control and monitoring system at Al-Hodeida port in western Yemen, “as well as the misuse of permits granted by the alliance to relief and goods shipments.”
The coalition “missile trafficking” is going on because of “the world community's failure to take a decision to prevent such violations that prolong the war and endanger the lives of civilians.”
“The alliance reiterates its support for the decision of the legitimate Yemeni government for the endeavor of the UN envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Al-Chieck to impose control on this vital sea outlet,” the coalition statement said.
Earlier, the Saudi-led coalition urged the UN to take control of Hodeida port to enable the continuous flow of humanitarian support for civilians, but the UN refused to take responsibility. The Iran-backed Houthis have continued to disrupt operation at the key port despite an offensive by the coalition.
Thursday’s missile attack was the second to be aimed at Makkah. On October 27, 2016, a Houthi missile launched from Yemen toward the holy city was also shot down by Saudi air defense forces before it could reach the holy city.
Houthi forces have also launched numerous attacks on various targets mostly along the Saudi border with Yemen, killing more than a hundred soldiers and civilians.
Saudi Arabia, along with the United Emirates, organized the coalition in 2015 to support the UN-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi amid an onslaught of Houthi militias and loyalist forces of former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The coalition has accused Iran of arming the Houthis as part of Tehran’s destabilization efforts in the region.
Houthi missile launched towards Makkah intercepted
Friday July 28, 2017 / 5 Dhu al-Qaadah 1438
RIYADH – The Air Defense Forces of the Arab Coalition Forces supporting the legitimacy in Yemen intercepted on Thursday evening a ballistic missile launched by Houthi militias towards Makkah Province, in a futile attempt to mar the Haj season, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted the Command of the Arab Coalition Forces supporting legitimacy in Yemen as saying.
In a statement it issued, the Command said: “The Air Defense Forces were able on Thursday evening to intercept a ballistic missile launched by the (Houthi) militias towards Makkah. It was intercepted over Al-Wasiliyah Area in Taif governorate, 69 km from Makkah. There were no casualties or damage.”
The Command stressed that the continued smuggling of missiles into Yemen is due to absence of monitoring of the Hodeida Seaport and misuse of permits granted by the Coalition for relief consignments and goods. This comes at a time when the international community is continuing to deliberate the situation and arrive at a decision to prevent the violations that are prolonging the war and subjecting the civilians to danger.
The Coalition reiterates its support for the decisions of the legitimate government in Yemen to support the initiatives of the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to supervise the vital Hodeida Port.
Over 1 million tried to log on local Haj online service in early hours
Thursday 27 July 2017
JEDDAH: Over 1,200,000 citizens and residents on Monday tried to log on the local Haj online service website at 8 a.m., on the first day of registration, according to Makkah daily.
This made it difficult to register because of the tremendous volume of traffic caused by the attempts to log on the website, according to the undersecretary of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah for Haj Affairs, Hussein bin Nasser Al-Sharif.
Al-Sharif said in a televised interview on Wednesday that about 992,000 wanted to log on and review and book programs. “About 85,000 pilgrims were able to register within 48 hours; however there are about 108,000 seats that were not booked,” he said.
Al-Sharif has also noted that “the registration numbers are not fixed due to probable cancelation of reservations from applicants, or in the event of a company not being able to provide the service. Then, the ministry will add waiting-listed seats in place of those who cancel their reservations.”
He stated that reservations in the low-cost and affordable Haj programs are almost fully booked online.
The president of the coordinating council of institutions and companies serving local pilgrims, Abdulrahman Al-Haqbani, said that the local Haj online service website made it easier for citizens to register for Haj programs and to review about 180 companies to choose the program which they want.
On Wednesday, 109 pilgrims arrived at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah from South Africa, representing the first group of non-Arab African pilgrims to perform the rituals this year.
13 Projects underway to accommodate pilgrims at Holy sites
Sunday 30 July 2017
Pilgrims will benefit from 13 projects undertaken by the Development Authority of Makkah and the holy sites (MMDA), and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
These projects include pedestrian bridges, toilets, train gates and many others, and will accommodate pilgrims from all over the world.
According to Okaz newspaper, the holy sites are witnessing great efforts being exerted to complete a number of projects, especially since only 38 days are left before the arrival of pilgrims to the sprawling tent city of Mina.
Trial train trips have been operated on a daily basis over the past months, to make sure of the trains’ security, safety and readiness.
The Malaysian company operating the Mashaer Railway network is now offering temporary jobs for young Saudis. Saudis willing to work for a period of 8 days during the Hajj season this year can now apply.
The MMDA has achieved 60 percent of a project aiming to separate pedestrians climbing Jabal Al-Rahmah Mountain from the Iranian pilgrims’ camps in Arafat.
The MMDA and the workers on site are in a race against time, as they want pilgrims to benefit from this project during this year’s Hajj season.
20 minutes for a pilgrim to complete entry procedures
A pilgrim going through the passports, the customs, health offices for vaccination and medical check up on arrival at the Haj terminal of KAIA in Jeddah.
Wednesday August 2, 2017 / 10 Dhu al-Qaadah 1438
JEDDAH — On arrival at the Haj and Umrah Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah, a pilgrim will not need more than 20-25 minutes to complete all entry procedures and go out of the terminal to take a bus to Makkah or Madinah, Al-Watan reported
Upon arrival, the pilgrim will have to go through the passports, the customs, health offices for vaccination and medical check up and the unified agents' office responsible for directing pilgrims towards their tuwafa establishments.
"There are more than 15,000 Saudi men and women working in the terminal to facilitate the entry of pilgrims," director of information and public relations of the KAIA, Turki Bin Maalawi Al-Dheeb told local daily Al-Watan on Tuesday.
He said the daily average of arrivals at this time is 35,000 pilgrims, which is expected to rise to more than 70,000 with the advent of the month of Dhul Hijja.
The Haj flights started on Dhul Qada 5 (July 28) and will terminate on Dhul Hijja 4 (Aug. 26).
Until Monday evening, about 43,000 pilgrims arrived via the Haj and Umrah Terminal onboard 245 flights coming from various parts of the world.
Al-Dheeb said the largest number of pilgrims who have arrived so far were from Pakistan, Indonesia, India and Egypt.
"The management of the airport and more than 27 other concerned government and private departments are determined to finalize the procedures of the pilgrims quickly and easily so that they go out of the airport to proceed to any of the Two Holy Cities," he said.
Al-Dheeb described the terminal to be the fourth largest lounge in the world with a total area of more than 500,000 square meters and said the processing of the entry arrangements for the pilgrims was going smooth.
Hajj terminal in Jeddah can handle 175,000 pilgrims at a time
Wednesday 2 August 2017
RIYADH: The Hajj terminal in Jeddah can accommodate 175,000 pilgrims at a time — 91,000 at the arrival lounge and 84,000 in the departure lounge.
These figures were revealed during the visit of Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, deputy governor of the Makkah region, to the Hajj and Umrah Complex at King Abdul Aziz International Airport on Sunday.
Under new arrangements, the airport facilities and personnel will be able to clear 3,800 arriving pilgrims and 3,500 departing ones in an hour. The waiting areas can accommodate 7,000 pilgrims at a time.
The prince reviewed airport upgrades and operational plans to receive pilgrims. He was received by Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, transport minister and chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), among others.
The prince was briefed on government services for receiving pilgrims, including those by the Health Ministry, GACA, and the passports and customs departments.
The Hajj and Umrah Complex covers 510,000 square meters. There are 26 aircraft parking spaces, 10 skyways, 18 travel gates and 143 counters for immigration formalities.
The General Directorate of Passports has issued a warning to those transporting pilgrims without licenses, local media reported.
Penalties include a fine of SR50,000 ($13,333) for every passenger carried, a six-month jail sentence and confiscation of the vehicle transporting the unauthorized pilgrims, Al-Madinah daily reported.
Expatriates violating the rules will be deported after they serve their sentences and pay the fines.
Their vehicles will be confiscated, and they will be banned from re-entering the Kingdom.
During Hajj season last year, the passport authorities issued 101 administrative decisions against 574 violators.
In total, they were fined SR5.8 million with prisons terms of 1,425 days, while 18 vehicles were confiscated.
Performing pilgrimage without a permit is illegal in the Kingdom, and every year authorities launch campaigns for citizens and expatriates about the importance of complying with the regulations.
The aim is to control the number of pilgrims at the holy sites in Makkah and Madinah to enable government agencies and legitimate Hajj firms to provide the best services.
MAKKAH – As many as 95,400 domestic pilgrims without a Haj permit have so far been sent back from various entry points of Makkah and other holy sites, according to Gen. Khaled Al-Harbi, commander of the Haj Security Forces. He said a total of 47,700 vehicles carrying illegal pilgrims have been turned back during the period between July 19 and Aug. 12.
Gen. Al-Harbi said that the Security forces, he said, are keeping utmost vigil and are geared up to ensure a safe and secure Haj in all respects. He warned that the security forces will deal sternly with all those who attempt to enter the holy city without a Haj permit or those transporting illegal pilgrims, and that such violators will be handed over to the concerned authorities for penal actions.
“The security forces will penalize the violators who have already entered the holy sites through deploying inspection squads with random fingerprinting mechanism apart from the precautionary measures at the entry points of Makkah and the holy sites as well as on the desert roads leading to the holy sites. Aerial surveillance to catch the violators will also be intensified,” he said.
Gen. Al-Harbi called on citizens and expatriates to cooperate with security forces in creating an appropriate environment for hassle-free pilgrimage.
As of Sunday, a total of 675,143 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom. According to a statement of the General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat), of these 663,860 pilgrims arrived by air; 10,796 by land; and 487 by sea, and that this figure marks an increase by 17% (98,387) pilgrims compared with the same period last year. These include 480,592 pilgrims who arrived in Madinah.
The daily report, being published by the National Guides Establishment, said 276,750 pilgrims have left Madinah for Makkah, while 203,806 pilgrims are still remaining in the Prophet’s city.
Private flights allocated for 1,000 Hajjis from families of killed Palestinians
Tuesday 15 August 2017
JEDDAH: The King Salman Program for Hajj, Umrah and Visit allocated private flights for Palestinian families who had members killed by Israeli occupation forces.
These flights will carry them from Jordan and Egypt to the Kingdom to perform Hajj, by Saudi jets affiliated with Saudi Arabian Airlines.
This directive was issued after a meeting in Cairo between Dr. Zaid bin Ali Al-Dakkan, deputy chairman of King Salman Program for Hajj, Umrah and Visit, and Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs Sheikh Yousef Adeis.
Adeis said this demonstrates the concern the Kingdom has toward the Palestinian people. He praised the continuous support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the efforts by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance to assist Palestinian families.
Dubai firm builds « world's 'largest' sliding roof » in Grand Mosque expansion
Dubai-based Premier Composite Technologies (PCT), which built the world’s largest clock in Saudi Arabia, is currently giving final touches to what is believed to be one of the “largest sliding roof on a mosque in the world”.
The company, headquartered in Dubai Investment Park, made headlines recently for building and installing the “largest freestanding carbon-fibre roof” on the Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.
Speaking to Arabian Business, PCT’s principal architect Gabi Bohm confirmed that the ceremonial dome in Makkah includes an octagonal-shaped roof, 38-metres in diameters, which can be moved over the roof deck for natural ventilation in the mosque.
The project is part of the $9.3 billion (SR35bn) expansion undertaken by the Saudi government at the Grand Mosque since 2015.
The roof structure, which was built in Dubai, and then shipped and assembled in Makkah, comprises composite panels fixed to a structural steel frame that is supported on four electric wheel drives, Bohm said.
The wheels provide controlled operation of the roof and allows it to travel along stainless steel rail system, anchored to the fixed part of the building, she added.
The dome uses a mechanism that has already been used in mosques built in Madinah, though the size of the roofs there are 20 metres in diameter. Ceremonial dome in Makkah includes an octagonal-shaped roof, 38-metres in diameters.
The internal and external composite panels on the dome are supported by a 470 tonne steel frame, while the weight of the entire dome, including the boogies and outer cladding, is 800 tonnes, the company said.
In its company brochure, PCT claims Dokaae Tower is the largest clock in the world and has a face size of 43 metres in diameter, standing 601 metres high. The clock is visible in all districts of Makkah, it added.
Project, stopped two years ago, to cost $26.6 billon
Friday August 18, 2017 / 26 Dhu al-Qaadah 1438
EXPANSION work of the Grand Mosque in Makkah resumes next month, sources said.
The $26.6 billion expansion project, undertaken by Saudi Binladin Group, was stopped nearly two years ago in the wake of a crane collapse at the site that killed 107 people, sources told Reuters on Thursday.
Work will resume after the annual Haj pilgrimage, and Saudi Binladin will pay outstanding salaries owed to staff involved in the project beginning on Aug. 20, according to a notice that the company sent to banks and which was seen by Reuters.
Banking and construction industry sources confirmed the plan. Saudi Binladin, one of the country’s top construction conglomerates, and the the Ministry of Finance were not immediately available to comment.
Development of the Grand Mosque and its surrounding area to accommodate more worshipers was halted after the fatal construction accident in September 2015, and then remained on hold as government finances were squeezed by low oil prices.
The government is now enjoying a moderate recovery in oil income, and it is keen to resume work on big religious tourism and infrastructure schemes as part of a drive to diversify the economy beyond oil exports.
Its plan to restart construction at the Grand Mosque is a fresh sign of the rehabilitation of Saudi Binladin, which was temporarily banned from winning new state contracts after the crane collapse and has been damaged financially by a deep slump in the construction sector.
The Ministry of Finance has allocated a portion of this year’s budget to key projects and has been in talks with Saudi Binladin in recent weeks about restarting several big schemes, the sources said. The ministry pledged to make payments that would enable Binladin to pay its staff, they said.
Another stalled government project in which Saudi Binladin is involved, the $3.5 billion construction of the Abraj Kudai hotel complex in Makkah, will restart in coming months, sources told Reuters earlier this week.
The company also restarted work earlier this year on the new King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
In 2015, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman inaugurated five new projects as part of the third expansion of the Grand Mosque.
The expansion projects include the King Abdullah Expansion Structure, courtyards, tunnels, buildings for service facilities and the first ring road.
late King Abdullah had laid the foundation for the expansion of the Grand Mosque in a ceremony held in Makkah in August 2011.
The project is estimated to cost over SR 100 billion and the Ministry of Finance is supervising it. The total area of the existing mosque is 356,000 sq. meters accommodating 770,000 worshipers, while the new expansion covers an area of 456,000 sq. meters.
As many as 1,070,951 pilgrims have so far arrived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The General Directorate of Passports said in its daily statistics that 1,015,482 pilgrims arrived by air; 50,554 by land; and 4,915 by sea, an increase by 24% (204,302) pilgrims compared with the same period last year.
700,135 Pilgrims arrive in Madinah
Madinah, Dhu-AlQa'dah 28, 1438, August 20, 2017, SPA -- As many as 700,135 pilgrims have so far arrived in Madinah for this year's Hajj season 1438 AH (2017 AD).
Madinah-based National Pilgrim-Guides Foundation pointed out in its daily statistics that 498,967 pilgrims have left Madinah, while 201,101 pilgrims remained in it.
Fire breaks out in 15-story Makkah hotel, 600 pilgrims evacuated
Monday 21 August 2017
JEDDAH: Six hundred Turkish and Yemeni pilgrims survived a fire that broke out in a hotel in Makkah’s Al-Aziziyah neighborhood after they were evacuated by emergency response teams, Saudi state news agency SPA reported Monday.
Official spokesman for the General Directorate of Civil Defense in Makkah Maj. Nayef Al-Sharif said that “flames were coming from a faulty air conditioning unit on the eighth floor of the 15-story hotel, which was inhabited by 600 pilgrims from Turkey and Yemen.”
He added that “all the hotel guests were evacuated as a precautionary measure by rescue teams while the fire was put out and the situation brought under control without causing any injuries or loss of life.”
Al- Sharif said that a team was investigating the cause of the incident in coordination with the concerned authorities and added that guests had been allowed back in the hotel.
Pilgrims are expected to flock to Makkah from all over the world to perform the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj pilgrimage.
Sighting of Dhu Al-Hijjah Crescent ______________________________________________
Supreme Court announces to have not received what proves eye-sighting of Dhul-Hijjah Crescent
Riyadh, Dhu-AlQa'dah 29, 1438, Aug 21, 2017, SPA
The Supreme Court, which earlier called on the public to view Dhul-Hijjah crescent at Monday sunset, announced in a statement here tonight that nobody reported as of the evening of this Monday, the 29th of the month of Dhul-Qa'dah 1438 H., sight-seeing the crescent of the month of Dhul-Hijjah 1438 H., according to the Calendar of Umm Al-Qura.
Accordingly, the court will hold a session on Tuesday evening, and issue its decision according to the testimonies of witnesses, if any, on the advent of the crescent, as customary, the statement added.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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