A bus crash in the Saudi city of Medina killed 35 foreigners and wounded four others on Wednesday evening, a police spokesman cited by the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. The privately chartered bus collided with a heavy vehicle, the Medina police spokesman said. The victims were Arab and Asian expatriates, he added. The Prophet Mohammed’s mosque is in Medina, making it the second-holiest site in Islam after Mecca.
Unmarried foreign couples will now be allowed to rent hotel rooms together in Saudi Arabia as part of a new visa regime announced by the religiously conservative kingdom. Women will also be allowed to stay in hotel rooms alone. Couples previously had to prove they were married before getting a hotel room. The government move comes amid efforts by Saudi Arabia to grow its tourism industry.
In a television interview, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Prince Mohammed called for global action against Iran and warned that oil prices could otherwise rise astronomically. Bin Salman blamed Iran for the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities that cut its production by half and led to a spike in oil prices. The crown prince said he would prefer a political rather than a military response to Iran.
Any attack on Iran by the U.S. or Saudi Arabia will spark an “all-out war,” Tehran’s top diplomat warned Thursday, raising the stakes as Washington and Riyadh weigh a response to a drone-and-missile strike on the kingdom’s oil industry that shook global energy markets. Along with the sharp language, however, there also were signals from both sides of wanting to avoid a confrontation.
Saudi Arabia’s defense ministry has shown off what it says is wreckage of drones and cruise missiles that proves Iranian involvement in weekend attacks on two oil facilities. It said 18 drones and seven cruise missiles were fired from a direction that ruled out Yemen as a source. Iran has denied any involvement and warned it would retaliate against any attack that targeted it.
The attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities originated from inside Iran, according to US media reports. It comes as the Saudi energy minister announced that half of the crude oil production cut after the attack had been restored. The remainder will be fully restored by the end of the month, said Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday it looked like Iran was behind attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia but stressed he did not want to go to war, as the attacks sent oil prices soaring and raised fears of a new Middle East conflict. Iran has rejected U.S. charges it was behind the strikes on Saturday that damaged the world’s biggest crude-processing plant and triggered the largest jump in crude prices in decades.
Oil prices surged by nearly 20% after two attacks on Saudi Arabian facilities on Saturday knocked out more than 5% of the world’s supply. US oil prices also spiked, but both trimmed gains as President Donald Trump authorized the release of US reserves. The strike, which the US blames on Iran, has sparked fears of increased risk to energy supplies in the region.
Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer need the permission of a male guardian to travel, according to laws published on Friday, in a key step towards dismantling controls that have made women second-class citizens in their own country. Being able to obtain family documents could ease hurdles women faced in obtaining a national identity card and enrolling their children in school.
A Saudi princess accused of ordering her bodyguard to assault a workman has gone on trial in Paris in absentia. Princess Hassa bint Salman – Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s sister – faces charges of complicity to violence with a weapon and complicity to kidnap. Her bodyguard, who is alleged to have made the man kiss her feet as part of the 2016 attack, is also on trial.