Self-Driving Air Taxi Trial Launched for 1st Time During Hajj Season

The inaugural trial involved the vertical take-off of the electric air taxi. SPA
The inaugural trial involved the vertical take-off of the electric air taxi. SPA
TT

Self-Driving Air Taxi Trial Launched for 1st Time During Hajj Season

The inaugural trial involved the vertical take-off of the electric air taxi. SPA
The inaugural trial involved the vertical take-off of the electric air taxi. SPA

Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Services and Chairman of the Board of Directors of General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser launched the self-driving air taxi trial on Wednesday at the holy sites, a statement from the Transport General Authority said.

The inaugural trial, witnessed by GACA President Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, involved the vertical take-off of the electric air taxi.

It is the “world's first air taxi to be licensed by a civil aviation authority,” the statement said.

The air taxi services entail transporting pilgrims between the holy sites, facilitating emergency travel, transporting medical equipment, and providing logistical services for the transportation of goods.
Al-Jasser stressed that this initiative is part of the ministry's endeavor to adopt cutting-edge transportation technologies and environment-friendly transportation models powered by artificial intelligence. These innovations support the sustainability of the modern transportation sector and align with the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

"Today marks the activation of one of the most important initiatives of the roadmap for enabling advanced air mobility,” said Al-Duailej.

“The use of its modes, including the air taxi, reduces passenger travel time in congested areas, particularly in emergencies, facilitates the transportation of goods and medical supplies, and speeds up surveillance and inspection tasks through drones,” he added.



Oman Terror Attack: Perpetrators Pledged Allegiance to ISIS

Muscat, Oman (AFP)
Muscat, Oman (AFP)
TT

Oman Terror Attack: Perpetrators Pledged Allegiance to ISIS

Muscat, Oman (AFP)
Muscat, Oman (AFP)

The identities of the “three terrorist brothers” who attacked a mosque in Muscat on Monday night have shocked Oman, a country not used to such incidents.

A video from ISIS showed the brothers pledging allegiance to the terror group’s leader before the attack.

The Royal Oman Police said the brothers, who were Omani, died after resisting security forces. Investigations revealed they were influenced by extremist ideas.

According to available information, the three brothers held prestigious positions.

One had a PhD and worked in a key government ministry, and he had hosted television programs about Oman’s development, which are available on YouTube.

The second brother worked at the central bank, and the third was employed by the municipality.

A video featuring their fourth brother, Sultan Al-Hasani, a former singer who had renounced his career, showed him condemning his brothers, denouncing their actions as bloodshed and a threat to national security.

On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Imam Ali Mosque in Wadi Kabir, Muscat.

The attack targeted residents observing Ashura, killing six people, including a police officer, and injuring around 28 others. The three attackers were also killed.

A video released by ISIS’s Amaq news agency, which has not been verified by official sources, showed the three brothers who carried out the attack standing in front of the group’s black flag, pledging allegiance to “Abu Hafs,” referring to the group’s leader, Abu Hafs al-Hashimi.

Abu Hafs became the fifth leader of ISIS on August 3, 2023, following the death of his predecessor, Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi, in battle, as announced in an audio recording by ISIS spokesman Abu Hudhayfah al-Ansari.

In a video released by ISIS, a speaker believed to be Hamad Al-Hasani justified the mosque attack with sectarian rhetoric, inciting Arab youth to rebellion and criticizing religious scholars.

He also attacked the West, led by the United States, accusing it of waging “the greatest ideological, military, media, and economic war against Muslims in general, and ISIS in particular.”