The year 1979 is a turning point in the history of the region, as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Islamic revolution in Iran and ‘Seige of Mecca’ laid the groundwork for the rise and victory of the Taliban over forty years later.
Since April, dozens of female soldiers have become part of the security services that monitor pilgrims in Mecca and Medina.
Just 60,000 people, all citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia, have been selected to take part in this year's Hajj, with foreign pilgrims again barred due to the restrictions over coronavirus pandemic.
Around 60,000 Saudi citizens and residents perform Hajj this year compared with some 2.5 million in 2019.
Saudi Arabia's Hajj ministry says it is working on the "highest levels of health precautions" as pilgrims begin performing the "tawaf", the circumambulation of the Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque.
Only people aged between 18 and 65 who have been vaccinated will be able to take part in this year's Hajj, which will begin in mid-July, state-run Saudi Press Agency announced on Saturday.
Al Shabab attacker kills six police officers including commander of Waberi police district in capital Mogadishu, officials say.
Ramadan will start on or around the evening of April 13 and will be observed by hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide.
US military says it has already tested unloading and shipping cargo overland from the country's port at Yanbu, a crucial terminal for oil pipelines in the kingdom.
A series of decisions under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has led the Kingdom down a path of irrelevance.
Two of Islam's holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, are now open to Muslims living in Saudi Arabia, after a 7-month Covid-19 pause.
Although the imam of Mecca faced heat on social media for invoking Islam to indirectly justify normalisation with Israel, experts think that Riyadh may not be fully prepared to take such a brazen step.
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