Jun 232017
Saudi says suicide bomber killed in foiled Makkah plot

Saudi security forces said Saturday they disrupted a plot to attack the Grand Mosque at Makkah, home to the holiest site in Islam, just as Ramazan concludes. The Interior Ministry said it launched raids in Jeddah as well as two areas in Makkah itself, including the Ajyad Al-Masafi neighbourhood, located near the Grand Mosque. There, police said they engaged in a shootout at a three-story house with a suicide bomber, who blew himself up and led to the building's collapse. He was killed while the blast wounded six foreigners and five members of security forces, according to the Interior Ministry's statement. Five others were arrested, it said.Saudi state television aired footage after the raid near the Grand Mosque, showing police and rescue personnel running through the neighbourhood's narrow streets. The blast demolished the building, its walls crushing a parked car as what appeared to be shrapnel and bullet holes peppered nearby structures. The Interior Ministry “confirms that this terrorist network, whose terrorist plan was thwarted, violated, in what they would have perpetrated, all sanctities by targeting the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth.” “They obeyed their evil and corrupt self-serving schemes managed from abroad whose aim is to destabilise the security and stability of this blessed country,” the statement said. The ministry did not name the group involved in the attack. The ultraconservative kingdom battled an Al Qaeda insurgency for years and more recently has faced attacks from a local branch of the Islamic State group. [Read More…]

Jun 232017

Saudi security forces on Friday foiled a terror plot to target the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the security spokesperson of the Kingdom’s interior ministry said. According to security forces, the bid to target worshippers at the mosque was planned by three terrorist groups, two of which were based in Makkah and a one based in Jeddah. The first terror plot was foiled in the Assila district of Makkah, while the second was thwarted in Ajyad al Masafi neighbourhood. Top Saudi cleric ‘blesses’ Trump-Muslim summit Al Arabiya news reported that a suicide bomber, who was hiding in a house in the Ajyad neighborhood, had opened indiscriminate fire on security officials, after he was asked to comply with calls to turn himself in. The suicide bomber later blew himself up after the forces tried to arrest him. Five members of the security forces were injured in the blast. Security forces also arrested five suspects, including a woman, who are currently being interrogated. The post Saudi security forces foil terror plot on Grand Mosque appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 222017

Acting Saudi ambassador in Islamabad Marwan bin Rizwan said Saudi-led 41-nation Islamic military alliance is against terrorism, and not against any specific country, Radio Pakistan reported. “If Qatar abides by the 2014 agreement, the Saudi-Qatar relationship can improve,” he said while talking to reporters in Islamabad on Thursday. The boycott of Qatar, he said, can be ended if it accepts the Saudi demands. Pakistan will remain neutral in Saudi-Qatar row: Aziz On Wednesday, the Pakistan government had categorically said it would not take any sides in the recent political stand-off between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “Pakistan does not want to interfere in other countries’ matters and will stick to its non-partisan policy on the Middle East issue,” Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. Saudi military alliance: Pakistan seeks to find a middle ground Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and the United Arab Emirates announced on June 5 they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar after accusing it of supporting terrorism. Moreover, in principle, Islamabad had agreed to be part of the Islamic Military Alliance against Terrorism (IMAT). The post Military alliance not against any specific country, says Saudi envoy appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 212017

BEIRUT: Iranian state media on Wednesday called the appointment of Mohammed Bin Salman to the position of crown prince and successor to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman as a “soft coup”. “Soft coup in Saudi Arabia/Son becomes the succesor of the father,” read the headline on the Iranian state TV website. The move is likely to rattle Iran’s leadership, which has been critical of comments by Prince Mohammed last month that the ‘battle’ should be taken into Iran. Iran, which is predominantly Shia Muslim, and Saudi Arabia, which is mostly Sunni, compete for power and influence across the region. The two countries support opposite sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. Saudi king appoints son as crown prince in major reshuffle Islamic State carried out attacks on the Iranian parliament in Tehran and the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, two weeks ago that left at least 17 dead. Iranian officials pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia, which denied any involvement. Tension between the two countries increased last month when US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and took a bellicose stance against Iran in an official speech, repeatedly accusing the Islamic Republic of supporting terrorism. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei labeled the Saudi leadership ‘idiots’ in a speech last month. The post Iran state media calls promotion of Mohammed bin Salman a ‘soft coup’ appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 192017

DOHA: Qatar on Monday demanded neighbouring states lift their “blockade” of the emirate as a pre-condition for crisis talks, even as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) warned its isolation could last years. Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani called measures imposed against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and others “an act of aggression”. “We have to make it very clear for everyone, negotiations must be done in a civilised way and should have a solid basis and not under pressure or under blockade,” he told reporters in Doha. “Qatar under blockade – there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade,” said Sheikh Mohammed. Qatar hits out at Arab states for ‘using terrorism as publicity stunt’ “Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the pre-condition for anything to move forward,” he added. On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar, pulling their ambassadors from the gas-rich emirate and giving its citizens a two-week deadline to leave their territory. The measures also included closing Qatar’s only land border, banning its planes from using their airspace and barring Qatari nationals from transiting through their airports. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and others accuse Qatar of supporting and funding “terrorism” and of working with regional rival Iran, charges Doha firmly denies. Turkish troops in Qatar for joint exercises Asked if the ultimate aim of the Gulf countries was to enforce regime change, the foreign minister replied: [Read More…]

Jun 182017
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia enjoy fraternal relations: President

President Mamnoon Hussain says Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy fraternal relations and all Pakistanis have a special place for Saudi Arabia in their hearts.He expressed these views during his meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, along with a delegation in Makkah.The President appreciated the generosity of King Salman towards Muslims visiting Haramain Sharifain and his efforts for providing more facilities to Umrah and Hajj performers.Source: Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage. Click for detailed story

Jun 182017

MONTREAL: Jailed Saudi blogger Raef Badawi’s three children appealed Saturday for his release on the fifth anniversary of his arrest on allegations that he insulted Islam in the conservative kingdom. Badawi, now 33, co-founded a discussion group called the Saudi Liberal Network Internet. He was arrested in June 2012 under cyber crime provisions, and a judge ordered the website shut after it criticised Saudi Arabia’s notorious religious police. Badawi was sentenced in 2014 to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison in a case that triggered international outrage. “It’s not fair that our father is in prison. He’s not killed anybody. He just created a blog. It’s not illegal,” one of his two daughters, Najwa, said in a video released by Amnesty International. Sister of jailed Saudi blogger imprisoned: NGO Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar and their three children — aged 14, 10 and eight — have lived in Quebec province of Canada since 2013. Supporters around the province and in Montreal held rallies to call for Badawi’s release. The Quebec government reiterated its support for Badawi and said it would keep working to secure his release. The European Parliament gave Badawi its Sakharov Prize for freedom of expression in 2015. The post Jailed Saudi blogger’s children appeal for his release appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 182017
Mamnoon meets Saudi king, discusses bilateral ties

President Mamoon Hussain held a meeting with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud to discuss bilateral relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Radio Pakistan reported on Sunday.The two leaders spoke about the situation in South Asia and Middle East, the daily reported.While in Jeddah, Hussain also met with the president of Yemen, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and Speaker of the National Assembly of Kuwait Marzooq bin Ali Al-Ghanim, and discussed matters of mutual interest.Hussain returned home after performing Umrah and was seen off at the airport by Governor Jeddah Mishaal bin Majid bin Abdulaziz.The president's meeting with the Saudi monarch comes days in the backdrop of a deepening diplomatic rift in the Middle East, days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held talks with King Salman during a one-day trip to the Kingdom.Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, backed by United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Maldives cut off all trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the country of sponsoring terrorism.The deepening crisis in the region has been touted as the biggest in the Middle East and has led Pakistan, along with countries around the world, into coming up with a suitable strategy to end the conflict. In its initial response to the crisis, Pakistan had stressed the need for unity in the Muslim world and urged the countries involved to engage in dialogue.However, there are worries that Pakistan would not be able to maintain its neutrality in the conflict for long.During their meeting, King Salman told Sharif [Read More…]

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