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This paper reports the design, implementation, and evaluation of a research work for developing a high performance natural speaker-independent Arabic continuous speech recognition system. It aims to explore the usefulness and success of a newly developed speech corpus, which is phonetically rich and balanced, presenting a competitive approach towards the development of an Arabic ASR system as compared to the state-of-the-art Arabic ASR researches. The developed Arabic AS R mainly used the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Sphinx tools together with the Cambridge HTK tools. To extract features from speech signals, Mel-Frequency Cepstral Coefficients (MFCC) technique was applied producing a set of feature vectors. Subsequently, the system uses five-state Hidden Markov Models (HMM) with three emitting states for tri-phone acoustic modeling. The emission probability distribution of the states was best using continuous density 16 Gaussian mixture distributions. The state distributions were tied to 500 senons. The language model contains uni-grams, bi-grams, and tri-grams. The system was trained on 7.0 hours of phonetically rich and balanced Arabic speech corpus and tested on another one hour. For similar speakers but different sentences, the system obtained a word recognition accuracy of 92.67% and 93.88% and a Word Error Rate (WER) of 11.27% and 10.07% with and without diacritical marks respectively. For different speakers but similar sentences, the system obtained a word recognition accuracy of 95.92% and 96.29% and a Word Error Rate (WER) of 5.78% and 5.45% with and without diacritical marks respectively. Whereas different speakers and different sentences, the system obtained a word recognition accuracy of 89.08% and 90.23% and a Word Error Rate (WER) of 15.59% and 14.44% with and without diacritical marks respectively.