BEIRUT: The Saudi-led military action against Houthi rebels was an “appropriate and proper” decision aimed at restoring stability in Yemen, Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian said Friday.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which had exhausted all political means to resolve the turmoil in Yemen, resorted to military [force] which was the right [decision] taken at the right time,” he said after meeting the head of Lebanon’s Press Federation, Aouni al-Kaaki, in Dar al-Fatwa.
In a statement released by his media office, Derian said that despite the kingdom’s attempts to address the crisis politically, the Houthi rebels did not respond to “diplomatic initiatives.”
This prompted Saudi Arabia to take a “difficult and costly” decision in order to restore security in Yemen, he said.
In the same statement, Kaaki, who is aligned with the Saudi-backed March 14 coalition, said that Derian was a supporter of joint Arab action.
The press federation head also quoted the mufti as lauding Saudi Arabia’s “brave decision” that he said was based on a “correct and clear” consciousness of Arab and Islamic affairs.
A coalition led by Saudi Arabia began launching airstrikes Thursday against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, saying it was "defending the legitimate government."
On Thursday, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Progressive Socialist Party leader had offered their support to military action against the Houthi rebels, while Hezbollah strongly condemned the intervention as an aggression.
Yemen's health ministry said Friday morning that 39 civilians had been killed so far in the airstrikes.