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Muslim world condemns Houthis over attempted Makkah attack

The empty seat of Iran during the OIC Foreign Ministers emergency meeting in Makkah on Thursday. (AFP)

MAKKAH: A top Saudi official said the Kingdom will take all available measures to protect the Two Holy Mosques and stressed the importance of ending aggressive actions by the Iran-backed Houthis.
In an address to an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Makkah on Thursday, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nizar bin Obaid Madani condemned last month’s attempted missile attack on the holy city.
“All Muslims must take a clear and strict stance against this attack to prevent Houthis from being encouraged to repeat this attempt,” he said.
The minister called on all Muslim countries to take steps against such attacks and to prevent any similar repeat attempts.
He also called for an end to the “aggressive actions toward Yemeni people” by the Houthi rebels and militias loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Such militias targeted Makkah on Oct. 27 with the launch of a ballistic missile. The Arab coalition said in an earlier statement that the missile was downed 65 km from Makkah, with coalition jet fighters destroying the rocket launchers in Saada.
The attempt to attack Makkah was condemned by leaders and scholars of Islamic countries. The attack was the first of its kind since the beginning of the Decisive Storm operation in Yemen. Houthi militias still however threaten the southern borders of the Kingdom with missiles.
The Iranian delegation did not attend the urgent OIC meeting held Thursday. Maha Akeel, director of the Information Department at the OIC, confirmed the absence of the Iranian delegation, with Iran’s chair remaining empty during the meeting.
The OIC’s acting Secretary-General, Abdullah Alem, said that Houthi and Saleh militias pose an ongoing threat to Yemen’s interests. The OIC expressed its strong condemnation of the attacks.
“I would confirm that the weapons cannot open the door of dialogue, while cooperation with external parties, which want to destroy our countries, will enhance instability in the region, (deepen) the conflict and expand the circle of the crisis. Our meeting in Makkah aims to confirm our historical responsibility toward this holy city,” Alem said.
Foreign ministers at Thursday’s meeting recommended the formation of a work team of the executive committee of the OIC to review steps to prevent the repeat of such attacks. It directed a letter to the United Nations to take international procedures to protect the holy sites. All foreign ministers agreed to enhance the unity of the Islamic states.
Manea Al-Mutairi, adviser to the Yemeni foreign minister, said the Houthi militias’ weapons represented a real threat to the region.
Speaking to Arab News, he said that Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition are able to put an end to the aggressive actions of Houthis and Saleh militias. At the same time, the Yemeni government called on all Muslims to condemn the Houthis’ ongoing violations of humanitarian laws.

New secretary-general
It also emerged on Thursday that Saudi Arabia’s former Social Affairs Minister Yousef Ahmed Al-Othaimeen had been elected as the new secretary-general of the OIC.
The post had fallen vacant after the resignation of Iyad Madani.
“Al-Othaimeen’s election was unanimous,” Akeel told Arab News.
“Al-Othaimeen took charge on Thursday from acting Secretary-General Abdullah Alem.”

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