GCC officials condemn Houthi attack targeting Makkah

Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh. (SPA)
Updated 24 November 2016
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GCC officials condemn Houthi attack targeting Makkah

JEDDAH: Speakers, presidents and chairmen of the GCC Shoura and representatives of assemblies and national councils have condemned the terrorist act carried out against Makkah by the Houthi militias.
In a statement on Wednesday at the conclusion of their 10th session in Manama, the parliamentary leaders said that tampering with the security of Saudi Arabia and the feelings of Muslims is the same as targeting the security and people of the Gulf states.
It called on the international community to take serious and effective steps to prevent such terror acts from recurring, and also to exert effort to help the Arab coalition bring about an end to the Yemen crisis.
In another statement, the meeting rejected the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) as a flagrant violation of the principles of international relations, particularly the principle of sovereign immunity, enjoyed by all sovereign states.
The statement said any breach of this rule would constitute a threat to world security and peace. It called on the US Congress to reconsider its decision and not approve the bill’s implementation.
Saudi Shoura Speaker Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh said that Operation Decisive Storm, launched by the Arab coalition in support of legitimate rule in Yemen, conforms to regional and international treaties, specifically Article 51 of the UN Charter.
He said action was taken in response to a distress call from Yemen’s legitimate President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to the GCC leaders following a coup staged by Houthi militias and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Although the war continues, the GCC countries believe that peace should prevail in Yemen according to the conditions agreed upon before the war, Al-Asheikh said.
Al-Asheikh reiterated that the GCC had exerted strenuous efforts to defuse the Yemeni political crisis since it began. “It culminated in the adoption of the GCC initiative as a solution approved by all parties to the crisis. This was known as the Peace and National Partnership Arrangement. However, the Houthis and Saleh forces, both key parties to the arrangement, annulled their decision and usurped power in Sanaa.”


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 57 min 44 sec ago
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.