RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah criticized international inaction over Israel's offensive in Gaza, which he described on Friday as involving "war crimes against humanity" and mass slaughter. "This (international) community which has observed silently what is happening in the whole region, was indifferent to what is happening, as if what is happening is not its concern," the monarch said in a speech read out on his behalf on state television. King Abdullah said that silence "has no justification."
He also slammed militants who he said were killing innocent people and mutilating their bodies in contravention of Islamic teachings and called on the region's leaders and religious scholars to prevent Islam from being hijacked by militants. King Abdullah named no groups but was apparently referring to violence in neighboring countries, including Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has captured swaths of territory, killing scores of people and forcing Christians to flee. Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, sees itself as a main player in the Middle East. But it has played only a low-key role in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Gaza, leaving the main Arab efforts to its close ally Egypt and fellow Gulf monarchy Qatar.