JEDDAH: Iran was roundly condemned on Friday over its support for Houthi militia which on Thursday night launched a missile towards Makkah, Islam’s holiest city. Saudi ground defenses intercepted the ballistic missile before it reached the holy city.
“We seek peace and they seek war; we look for the stability of Yemen and the region, and they look for destruction and sedition, and reaffirm they are a menace to the world peace,” Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek Al-Mekhlafi said.
“This irresponsible act reveals the true face of the Houthi militias and proves its sectarian strife driven by Iran, through their puppets in the region, which has been campaigning a sectarian incitement recently against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” a Yemeni government official said in a statement sent to Arab News on Friday, adding that the attack and the recklessness of Houthi militias and Saleh forces reflect their association with the destructive Persian scheme against Arabs, and all Muslims as well as sacred Muslim shrines.
“This criminal act is a provocation to the feelings of more than one billion Muslims around the world. It will not deter the Kingdom from its bid to rout out whoever tries to undermine the security and stability of the country and its citizens,” said Shoura Council speaker Abdullah Al-Ashiekh. He called on world parliaments, particularly those in the Islamic states, to condemn this aggression and whoever is behind it.
The Shoura Council stands in solidarity with all measures the Saudi government takes to ensure the country’s safety and stability, he added.
GCC head Abdullatif Al-Zayani said in a statement issued Friday: “The council considers this brutal assault, which violates that sanctity of this country, a provocation to the feelings of Muslims, and disregard for Islamic holy sites, and evidence of Houthis’ refusal to obey the will of the international community and its decisions, to apply the existing armistice, and tireless efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in Yemen.”
OIC Secretary General Iyad Madani said: “It is an attack on all Muslims around the world because of the reverence and status of the holy city for all Muslims.”
UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed said on his Twitter account: “The Iranian regime that support a terrorist group which targets Holy Makkah, is this an Islamic regime as it claims?”
Bahrain also condemned the Houthis’ action against Makkah, saying that this was an act of provocation to all Muslims in the world. Bahrain Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmad Al Khalifah said: “Targeting Makkah is not only a violation of all international covenants, but it’s the biggest crime ever.”
Qatar also condemned and denounced the attempt to attack Makkah. “This is an outrageous aggression against the sanctity of the holiest Islamic shrine and a provocation to the religious sentiments of millions of Muslims around the world,” the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement. The Qatari statement reiterated support for Saudi Arabia’s relentless efforts to ensure the regional security and stability and its efforts to achieve peace in Yemen in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2216, the GCC initiative and the Yemeni National Dialogue.
Lebanese Ambassador Abdul Sattar Issa to Saudi Arabia said he found the attack “unacceptable to target one of the two holiest places in Islam.”
Coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri said: “Targeting the holiest place on earth with a ballistic missile last night reveals the fake slogans of Houthi militias.”
Al-Assiri reiterated the coalition’s preparedness to deal with Houthi aggression and to “cut the snake’s head” and defeat this terrorist militia.
The missile, which was shot down 65km from Makkah, was a SCUD, Al-Assiri confirmed. He said Iranian and Hezbollah individuals had trained the Houthi militia on how to use these missiles.
Jet fighters attacked the rocket launchers in Saada, Yemen, and destroyed them. European and Asian diplomats also condemned the targeted attack.
Geert Criel, the Belgian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “We are shocked by the attack on the Saudi territory by the Houthi militias... This is absolutely unacceptable.”
Pekka Voutilainen, Finland's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “It is not acceptable. That kind of missile attack to Saudi soil has to be condemned in the strongest possible words.” He also called on all stakeholders to get involved in peace talks according to the UN road map on Yemen.
Manzoor Ul Haq, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Riyadh, said the attack targeting Makkah is “shocking for every Muslim.”
“We strongly condemn any attack against the Holy city of Makkah or any other part of the Kingdom,” he said. “We are confident that Saudi Arabia is capable to defend its territory,” he said, exuding hope that such attacks are not repeated.
Disturbed over the attempted missile attack, Golam Moshi, Bangladesh's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News that his country strongly condemns the act.
“This is not an attack on Saudi Arabia, it is a wilful aggression on Islam,” he said. “Under the able leadership of Premier [Sheikh] Hasina, Bangladesh is prepared to send its troops to protect the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah,” the envoy said, recalling that his country is one of the partners of the Coalition Forces led by the Kingdom.