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Germany approves arms exports to Saudi Arabia and Oman: ministry letter

Germany approves arms exports to Saudi Arabia and Oman: ministry letter

The German government has approved several arms export deals with countries in the Middle East, including delivery of 23 Airbus helicopters to Saudi Arabia, according to an Economy Ministry letter seen by Reuters on Monday. Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has vowed to be much more cautious in licensing arms exports, unnerving Germany’s sizeable defense industry and signaling a change in …

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Saudi Arabia becomes world’s biggest arms importer

Saudi Arabia becomes world's biggest arms importer

Saudi Arabia overtook India in 2014 as the world’s biggest importer of defence equipment, fuelled by tensions in the Middle East, according to a study published Sunday by respected analysts IHS Jane’s. Global defence trade currently stands at $64.4bn, said the report from the London-based defence specialists. The figure has been driven by “unparallelled demand from the emerging economies for …

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Saudi Arabia blocks UN aid ship bound for Yemen

Saudi Arabia blocks UN aid ship bound for Yemen

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says Saudi Arabia has seized a ship carrying food for Yemen over “humanitarian IT equipment” and diverted it to its southwestern province of Jizan, Press TV reported. The WFP’s senior regional spokeswoman, Abeer Etefa, said the MV Mainport Cedar was diverted to Jizan last Thursday while it was traveling from Djibouti to an …

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Amnesty queries $1.3bn US bombs deal with Saudi Arabia

Amnesty queries $1.3bn US bombs deal with Saudi Arabia

The US state department has approved the sale of $1.3bn of bombs to Saudi Arabia, to allow the Gulf nation to replenish its depleted weapons supplies as it continues to conduct intensive air strikes in Yemen and Syria.

Amnesty International, however, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that some of the types of bombs the US proposes to sell have previously been used in air strikes in Yemen that violated international humanitarian law.

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Saudi Arabia Accused Of Neglect Over Deadly Disaster At Hajj

Saudi Arabia faced new accusations of neglect Friday in the hajj disaster that killed over 700 people, the second tragedy at this year’s pilgrimage overseen by the kingdom’s rulers who base their legitimacy in part on protecting Islam’s holiest sites. Leading the criticism was regional Shiite powerhouse Iran, which always seeks an opportunity to undermine its Sunni adversary.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in New York that at least 140 Iranians were killed. He suggested that “ineptitude” by the Saudi authorities involved in organizing the hajj was to blame for the two accidents this month that have resulted in at least 830 deaths.

In Tehran, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned a Saudi envoy for the second time in as many days to hear protests over the incident, a vice president blamed Saudi “mismanagement,” and thousands marched in the streets and denounced the Saudi royal family.

Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars and undertaken massive construction projects to make the annual hajj safer for the world’s Muslims, and the last serious loss of life had occurred nine years ago.

In the worst hajj disaster in a quarter century, two huge waves of pilgrims converged Thursday on a street near a religious site in Mina, and 719 people were crushed or trampled to death, while 863 were injured. That followed an accident Sept. 11 in which a storm toppled a crane at the Grand Mosque in Mecca that killed 111 people.

While Saudi authorities are still investigating Thursday’s accident, Health Minister Khalid al-Falih has blamed it on the masses themselves, telling a Saudi broadcaster that “some pilgrims had moved in the wrong direction amid the crowds.”

But a survivor who spoke to The Associated Press said some Saudi guards only exacerbated the stampede at Mina by refusing to open nearby gates that could have relieved the crush.

The street where the incident took place is about 12 meters (36 feet) wide and lined with barricades, behind which are tents of hajj tour groups. Pilgrims move in one direction to and from a religious complex, where they throw stones at pillars representing the devil. On Thursday, the crowds apparently collided with each other at an intersection, the Interior Ministry said.

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