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Thwarted Terror Attack Targeted over 60,000 Fasting Muslims at ‘Al-Jawhara’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Al-Jawhara, Jeddah

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, an iconic Arabian and international sports attraction also called Al-Jawhara, Arabic for jewel, was targeted by an ISIS terror plot.

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that it foiled an attack by a terror cell which had planned to detonate a car bomb near the Al-Jawhara Football Stadium in Jeddah three weeks ago.

The planned attack targeted the site during peak time with over 60,000 spectators attending a World Cup qualifier match.

More so, event managers had organized for a meal on the day of the game, given that it coincides with an Islamic holy day of fasting. The audience was due to break their fast at the stadium.

The surgical neutralization of the terror attack, operated by the Saudi security forces, was notable in both proficiency and discretion—a case of crowd panic was deterred, in addition to the successful hosting of the game.

‘The Shining Jewel’, in Arabic (al-Jawhara Al-Moshe’ah), is a multi-use stadium and sports city located 60 kilometers north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The City was named after Abdullah, King of Saudi Arabia when the stadium opened.

The stadium, a part of a compound of other sports facilities, was officially opened on May 1, 2014 exciting Saudi sports fans everywhere.

The city’s opening event hosted the final of the 2014 King’s Cup tournament between Jeddah’s Al-Ahli SC and Riyadh’s Al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab won 3-0, and were crowned their 3rd King’s Cup championship. The match was attended by then-King Abdullah, along with then-Crown Prince Salman and then-Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin.

For this inaugural fixture, safety and security plans were designed and implemented by Mr. Sol N’Jie and Mr. David Storr representing Sword Security, based in Ireland. Mr. Storr was the event safety officer.

Over 62,241 diverse fans filled the stadium. The tickets for the match were free– It was also reported that many fans were able to enter without tickets and the capacity could not be accurately counted.

The stadium added great value to Saudi league tournaments, as it had become home to most definitive playoffs.

Outside the main stadium, the city has three separate football fields and four small indoor arenas also used for football. It also has six tennis courts, and a large indoor arena for sports and other purposes. The city also has a main mosque, and six separate smaller mosques. The city is also equipped with a comprehensive media center, in which spacious rooms are used to broadcast press conferences for players, coaches, and football personalities.

The main stadium can fit up over 63,000 in attendance. Seats and stands are numbered and divided in a professional way.