Arab celebs slam Houthi missile attack near Makkah

Saudi children pick up a piece of the downed missile fired towards Makkah on Thursday by Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. (AN photo by Ahmad Hashad)
Updated 30 October 2016
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Arab celebs slam Houthi missile attack near Makkah

JEDDAH: Thursday’s ballistic missile launch by Yemen’s Houthi militias toward Makkah has been denounced by celebrities from the world of Arab entertainment
The rocket was intercepted and downed by Saudi ground forces 65 km from the holy city and since then the heinous crime has drawn global condemnation.
Among those who slammed the attack in the strongest terms are Emirati singer Ahlam Al-Shamsi and Syrian musical artist Assala Nasri.
“May God destroy those who want to harm our holy sites and country. May God keep this country (Saudi Arabia) safe,” tweeted Ahlam, with a picture of the Holy Kaaba.
The popular singer who commands a following of 6.93 million fans on Twitter, also posted a second tweet with the hashtag #Intercepting_missile_launched_toward_Makkah, saying “O God, protect the country of the Two Holy Mosques from all harm ... May God save my family the people of #SaudiArabia.”
Meanwhile, Assala wrote, “May God protect Saudi Arabia and my family there. I love it (Saudi Arabia) as if I were born there, and I fear for it because it is my security and it ensures well-being for everyone.”
Mustafa Agha, prominent Arab journalist and head of Sports at MBC, whose Twitter page with a following of 4.36 million, is one of the most followed accounts in the Arab world, also condemned those who wished to destroy Saudi Arabia, “O God, destroy those who wish to harm our country #Intercepting_missile_launched_toward_Makkah”.
A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.


Italy’s Salvini says France has no interest in stabilising Libya

Italy's Interior Minister and deputy PM Matteo Salvini said France has no interest in stabilising the situation in Libya. (AFP)
Updated 54 min 45 sec ago
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Italy’s Salvini says France has no interest in stabilising Libya

  • The French say accusation is baseless and reiterated their efforts in Libya
  • Relations between Italy and France, traditionally close allies, have grown frosty since the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement formed a coalition

ROME: Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, continuing a war of words between Rome and Paris, said on Tuesday that France was not looking to bring calm to violence-ravaged Libya because its energy interests there rivalled those of Italy.
Relations between Italy and France, traditionally close allies, have grown frosty since the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement formed a coalition last year and took aim at pro-EU French President Emmanuel Macron.
France’s Foreign Ministry and the French president’s office declined to respond immediately.
On Monday France summoned Italy’s ambassador after Salvini’s fellow deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, accused Paris of creating poverty in Africa and generating mass migration to Europe.
Salvini backed up Di Maio, saying France was looking to extract wealth from Africa rather than helping countries develop their own economies, and pointed particularly to Libya, which has been in turmoil since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that overthrew strongman Muammar Qaddafi.
“In Libya, France has no interest in stabilising the situation, probably because it has oil interests that are opposed to those of Italy,” Salvini told Canale 5 TV station.
A French diplomatic source said it was not the first time that Salvini had made such comments and that it was probably because he felt he had been upstaged by Di Maio.
The source added that the accusation was baseless and reiterated that French efforts in Libya were aimed at stabilising the country, preventing the spread of terrorism and curbing the migration flows.
Italy’s Eni and France’s Total have separate joint ventures in Libya, but Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi denied in a newspaper interview last year that there was any conflict between the two firms in the north African state.
Salvini is head of the League, while Di Maio leads 5-Star. Both are campaigning hard for European parliamentary elections in May and are eager to show they have broken with the consensual politics of center-left and center-right parties.
The two men have repeatedly targeted neighboring France and accused Macron of doing nothing to help handle the hundreds of thousands of mainly African migrants who have reached Italy from Libya in recent years.
Asked about the latest diplomatic spat with Paris, Salvini said on Tuesday: “France has no reason to get upset because it pushed away tens of thousands of migrants (at the French border), abandoning them there as though they were beasts. We won’t take any lessons on humanity from Macron.”