Saudi Arabia has designated two senior officials of the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group as terrorists, alleging their involvement in conflicts in Syria and Yemen and responsibility for operations across the Middle East, state media said on Wednesday.
The official SPA news agency identified one as Khalil Youssef Harb and said he was a military commander in charge of Hezbollah’s activities in Yemen. SPA named the second as Mohammed Qabalan and said he had been convicted by an Egyptian court in absentia in 2010 for activities in the country.
The agency said the kingdom had imposed financial sanctions on the two, including freezing their assets and banning Saudis from any dealings with them.
Kuwait’s emir, speaking days after an attack claimed by Islamic State killed 21 Shias in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, said sectarian strife was the most serious threat facing Muslims and called for immediate action to tackle it.
Speaking at the opening session of a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah said Muslim countries must work together to confront terrorism. His remarks were echoed by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister.
“We must take a serious stand on the sectarian malady that has been shaking the structure of our nation and fragments it,” the emir told foreign ministers and representatives from the 57-member OIC at its annual meeting.
“This fanaticism is the most dangerous to the existence of our nation … We are all losers in this conflict, and the winner is the one who wants to inflame this destructive strife for their own objectives …”
The emir did not mention the suicide bombing on Friday that killed 21 worshippers at a mosque in Al-Qadeeh village, but commentators in Saudi Arabia discussing the attack have decried what some see as the kingdom’s failure to curb sectarianism at home.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir echoed Sheikh Sabah’s call.
“We are all eager to confront the threats that face the Islamic nation, foremost among them the phenomenon of terrorism, violence, extremism and sectarianism, which have wrought deep damage in the Islamic nation,” Jubeir said.