On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, Makkah Governor Prince Majed Bin Abdul Aziz today had the honor of washing the Holy Ka'abah. The traditional ceremony was attended by General President of the Holy Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdullah Al-Subail, Minister of Pilgrimage Mahmoud Bin Muhammad Safar, Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi, Commerce Minister Osama Faqih, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Dr. Izzedin Al-Iraqi, Mayor of Makkah Omer Qadi, and members of the Islamic diplomatic corps in the Kingdom.
Sheikh Al-Subail later handed over to the servants ("sadin") of the Holy Mosque the new kiswah, the covering for the Ka'abah that is replaced each year. The kiswah is made of black silk, with qur'anic verses embroidered in gold thread. It is over 45 feet wide, and nearly 130 feet in length, and cost about SR 17 million (U.S. $ 4.5 million) to make in the special factory that has been making kiswahs since it was first opened around 1927.
Meanwhile, Minister of Industry and Electricity Dr. Hashim Yamani is today conducting a tour of inspection to monitor preparations for the upcoming Hajj. Director-General of the Civil Defense Lieutenant-General Muhammad Al-Sohaili, after making his own tour of inspection yesterday, declared that this year's civil defense plan involves the most advanced equipment, including aircraft, and appealed to all pilgrims to follow instructions and guidelines for their safety and security.