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Al-Qaida claims attack that injured Saudi prince
From Associated Press - CAIRO — Al-Qaida claimed responsibility Sunday for a suicide attack that injured a Saudi prince and said the bomber — a wanted militant who had fled to Yemen — arrived on a royal jet after convincing the ruling family he wanted to surrender.
Despite the attack on Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, his father, Interior Minister Prince Nayef, said the kingdom would not change its offer for militants to repent. Saudi Arabia has been praised for having one of the world's best terrorist rehabilitation programs in the world.
Saudi officials have said the prince was lightly wounded in the bombing at his home in Jiddah Thursday night while he was receiving well-wishers for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. If al-Qaida's claim proves to be true, it would be an embarrassment for the prince and his father, two of the kingdom's top anti-terrorism officials. Prince Nayef is a half brother of Saudi King Abdullah and one of the most powerful members of the royal family.
"You tyrants ... your bastions and fortifications will not prevent us from reaching you. We will come to you soon," al-Qaida warned in an Internet statement. The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified, but it was posted on militant Web sites often used by al-Qaida.
Al-Qaida identified the bomber as Abdullah Hassan Tali Assiri, a Saudi citizen. Yemen's foreign minister and al-Qaida both said he crossed the border from Yemen into Saudi Arabia.
Al-Qaida and a Saudi newspaper have said the attacker, who also goes by the alias Abu al-Kheir, was on Saudi's list of 85 wanted militants, most of them Saudi. Al-Arabiya said Assiri is 23 and has a 27-year-old brother Ibrahim who is also on the wanted list.
The Saudi Gazette has some family details.
Abdullah Asiri’s father, meanwhile, said in an interview that he was “shocked” when he found out about his son’s actions, and offered his “utter condemnation of the criminal act” that targeted Prince Muhammad.
A former member of the armed forces now in his seventies, Hassan Taali’ Ahmed Asiri said his son had been “snatched from his family”, adding: “We denounce this despicable act, and we stand right beside our guardians in the face of the enemies of the nation and the Ummah.”
Abdullah Asiri was brought up alongside three brothers in addition to Ibrahim, namely Mohammed, Ahmed and Abdul Rahman, and three sisters, in a pious family in the Al-Jazira district of east Riyadh
Asiri’s father Hassan served in the army for four decades and recalled his last contact with his son Abdullah.
“We were living in Makkah two years ago and were planning to move back to Riyadh, but Abdullah and Ibrahim said they wanted to go to Madina before coming back with us,” Hassan recalled.
“Abdullah later contacted us to say he was out of the country, but didn’t say where, and from that day on we had no more news of him until we saw his and his brother’s pic-tures a few months ago in the media as on the list of wanted people. We had already been visited by security officials to take blood samples from myself and another of my sons for DNA testing.”
Hassan described his son as “pious and in his rectitude a model for others.” Abdullah used to call for prayer at a mosque in the area they were living in and sometimes led the prayer, the father said. “In Ramadan he used to stand at traffic lights before the Iftar and hand out food,” Hassan said. “I’m amazed at how this strange transition in his life could have occurred.”
Upon hearing the news that her son had committed the attempt on Prince Muhammad’s life, his mother, Hassan said, broke down in tears.
President of Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University Soleiman Bin Abdullah Aba Al-Kheil describ(ed) the act as “cowardly and criminal”, prompted by “evil ideas in a dark chain of deviation”.
“We all must be aware of the size of the danger,” Aba Al-Kheil was reported by Saudi Press Agency as saying. “We must all protect the ship of society from sinking by facing up to these criminals who have deviated from society, particularly educational institutes, preaching bodies and the media, to tighten the cord around the purveyor of this form of thought.”
Considering that so many of these acts of terrorism in the world are financed by Saudi money (the Laden firm anybody?) and Saudi ideology that’s a bit rich.