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Saudi Arabia says missile attack on Riyadh ‘act of war’ by Iran, vows retaliation

 

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman

 

Saudi Arabia on Monday accused Lebanon of declaring war against it following the attempted missile attack on Riyadh’s main airport on Saturday.

Riyadh indicates the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah for the rocket launched from Yemen at Saudi capital, while Yemen Houthi rebels who have been fighting Saudi-backed forces claimed responsibility for firing the ballistic missile.

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The official Saudi Press Agency charged that debris from the missile proved that it was made in Iran and smuggled into Yemen. Saudi Arabia insisting aggression equal to the declaration of war.

Lebanon has been thrust between Saudi Arabia and Iran since the Saudi-allied Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri quit on Saturday, blaming Iran and Hezbollah in his resignation address.

According to Reuters Saudi Gulf affairs minister, Thamer al-Sabhan said the Lebanese government would “be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia” because of what he described as aggression by Hezbollah.

Sabhan added “there are those who will stop (Hezbollah) and make it return to the caves of South Lebanon”, the heartland of the Shi’ite community.

Talking to Al-Arabiya TV, he said: “Lebanese must all know these risks and work to fix matters before they reach the point of no return.”

He did not spell out what action Saudi Arabia might take against Lebanon.

There was no immediate comment from the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah is both a military and a political organization is a powerful guerrilla army and consider as stronger than the Lebanese army, and has played a major role in the war in Syria, where Hezbollah has fought in support of the government.

Hariri cited a plot to assassinate him during his unexpected resignation speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia which caught even his aides off guard. He also slammed Hezbollah and Iran, accusing them of sowing strife in the Arab world.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said he will not comment on “Saudi statement”carried by Hariri, saying Riyadh had forced him to resign.

The sudden nature of Hariri’s resignation generated speculation in Lebanon that his family’s Saudi construction business had been caught up in an anti-corruption purge and he had been coerced into resigning.

in a CNN interview on Monday Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Jubeir said it was “nonsense” to propose Hariri had been forced to quit. Hariri had quit because Hezbollah had been “calling the shots” in the government, he said. Hariri, a Saudi citizen, was free to leave the country at any time, he said.

A meeting on Monday between Saudi King Salman and Hariri in Riyadh proved “rumors” wrong, he told CNN – an apparent reliance on assumptions that Hariri was detained or forced to quit.

The crisis could exacerbate strain between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims and afflict Lebanese government with neutralization once again. Lebanon is still rebuilding from its 1975-90 civil war. Today, one-in-four people is a Syrian refugee.

Hariri flew to Saudi Arabia on Friday after meeting in Beirut the top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, who described the coalition as “a victory” and “great success” afterwards, Reuters reports.

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