‘Family home half the breeding ground for terrorism’TAIF – Al-Qaeda analyst Faris Bin Hizam has said that the arrest of six Yemenis following last Tuesday’s killing in Jizan of wanted militants Yousef Al-Shehri and Raed Al-Harbi shows the organization’s increasing failure to recruit from Saudis inside the Kingdom.
Speaking to Al-Madina newspaper Monday Bin Hizam said the arrest showed the group was “resorting to non-Saudi elements”.
“Two of the six arrested intended to carry out suicide attacks, possibly in Jeddah and its environs, as shown by the presence of two explosive belts in the Chevrolet/GMC Suburban vehicle the two killed militants used before managing to reach Jizan town and also the large quantity of weapons which were beyond Al-Shehri and Al-Harbi’s need,” Bin Hizam said.
Al-Shehri and Al-Harbi had, according to Bin Hizam, put on their suicide belts securely, showing that they intended to commit a suicide attack and were not merely using them in case they were engaged by security forces.
Bin Hizam also said that the number of the militants’ relations with terrorist connections went to show that “half of terrorism is grown at home”. “Several of Al-Shehri’s brothers and his cousin on his mother’s side, as well as several relations are in prison,” Bin Hizam said. “His sister Wafa is also married to Saeed Al-Shehri.”
Saeed Al-Shehri is regarded as the second man in Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He spent time in Guantanamo with Yousef Al-Shehri, and the latter was the initiator of his sister’s marriage. Wafa herself was formerly married to Abdul Rahman Al-Ghamdi, a terrorist killed in confrontations with security authorities in Hada in Taif seven years ago.
Two of Yousef Al-Shehri’s brothers, Faisal and Mustafa, and his cousin Abdul Ghani Al-Shehri are currently detained at the Hai’er Prison, south of Riyadh, for terrorist ties to Al-Qaeda, security sources said. He also has a nephew, Abdulillah, on the list of wanted. “Raed Al-Harbi,” Bin Hizam continued, “is the younger brother of Faris Al-Harbi whose name appears on the list of 36”, in reference to a list announced in June 2005. Faris Abdullah Salim Al-Dhahiri Al-Harbi was killed in Iraq a month later.
Bin Hizam said that the Suburban 2009 model in which Al-Shehri and Al-Harbi were traveling shows that the so-called “Begging Video” – first broadcast by Al-Arabiya news network in Ramadan – in which Saeed Al-Shehri appears with a man identified by the network as Mohammed Abdul Hakeem Al-Ghazali calling for financial help for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, undermines their claims of a lack of finances.
“They appeared in the video in an old cheap Toyota asking for money, yet the brand new Suburban was being employed merely for transport and not to carry out an attack,” Bin Hizam said.
“The video tried to make people believe that the organization was getting no funding, yet we may recall Mohammed Al-Oufi’s confessions disclosed in March this year in which he said that there was funding from international sources in the region.”
Bin Hizam suspected that Al-Qaeda were in possession of the two dead militants’ final wills and testaments, which would have been revealed after their intended attacks.
Bin Hizam also noted the precision and accuracy with which security officials ended the lives of the two terrorists, citing not a single shot striking the vehicle in which they were traveling, the bullets instead striking them in the head to avoid detonating their explosive belt vests. - SGAl-Harbi ‘suddenly turned extremist’ after brother’s deathMore details concerning Raed Abdullah Salim Al-Dhahiri Al-Harbi have emerged, portraying him as an intelligent young man who was a keen horse-rider until his brother was killed by Iraqi forces in Iraq in 2004.
A source cited as a “close member of the family” told Al-Watan Monday that the second militant killed at Jizan’s Al-Hamra checkpoint eight days ago showed no signs of extremism prior to his brother Faris’s death, but was instead a “sociable and helpful” person who won several prizes for his prowess in equestrian competitions.
According to the relative, 20-year-old Raed, who was the closest of his brothers to Faris, “suddenly turned extremist” after his brother’s death, and left home without the knowledge of his family two years ago only to later appear named on the Ministry of Interior list of 85 wanted terrorists announced in February of this year.
Information at the time said he had joined up with elements from Al-Qaeda and crossed into Yemen to plan and carry out attacks. He was also described as useful in “providing shelter to a cell in Qassim” in Saudi Arabia.
The relative said that Raed, the youngest of six brothers, was born and brought up in the Al-Rass region of Qassim, with his brother Faris having the most influence on him in a “pious family of average income”.
The brothers lost their father in 2004, while his 60-year-old mother reportedly had no interest in his whereabouts following his disappearance.
The source told Al-Watan that Raed was “educated” and had “enrolled in a college in the town of Al-Rass, but didn’t finish the course”. Yousef Al-Shehri, unrehabilitated…Unnamed sources from the Ministry of Interior cited by Al-Madina newspaper Monday said that Yousef Al-Shehri had deceived officials working on the ministry’s “Munasaha” advisory program by hiding his true extremist beliefs during the rehabilitation course.
The source said that Al-Shehri disguised his beliefs by wearing “training shoes and using hair gel” in accordance – the source told Al-Madina – with the “doctrine of those of deviant thought which is known in religious terms as ‘tuqya’,” by which he is outwardly loyal to the state but inwardly not, “which is against Shariah Law”.
Raed Al-Harbi, the other militant killed in Tuesday’s clash with security forces, never went through the “Munasaha” advisory program which seeks to rehabilitate extremists through counseling.The third man...
The third man and driver of the militants’ vehicle was reported earlier this week as being a Saudi with “very close ties to the deviant group”, but not named on the list of 85.
It was also reported that the driver disclosed “important security information that led to the arrest of six Yemenis working with Al-Shehri and Al-Harbi inside the Kingdom”, arrests which were made public on Monday. The ministry said Monday that more people were being sought in connection with the case.Yousef’s father appeals to grandsonThe father of Yousef Al-Shehri, retired Brig. Muhammad Mubarak Al-Shehri, said he was shocked on being informed by the authorities that his son was one of the two militants killed at the Al-Hamra checkpoint in Jizan.
“Yousef’s mother broke down when she heard the news,” Al-Shehri told Al-Riyadh newspaper Tuesday.
Al-Shehri called on his grandson and Yousef’s nephew Abdulillah, who is also on the list of 85, to “return to the right path and not to kill himself for what is not right”.
Yousef was born in Riyadh’s Manfouha District in 1980, and had just completed intermediate school when his brother Saad Muhammad Al-Shehri took him to Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.
Yousef returned to Riyadh for a time before returning again to Afghanistan, this time with his nephew Abdulillah, where he was captured by US forces and deported to Guantanamo Bay detention center.
The Saudi Ministry of Interior facilitated his repatriation in 2003 and entered him in the Munasaha program which oversaw his rehabilitation and subsequent marriage.
Later on, however, he disappeared, and reports led the family to believe he and Abdulillah had been killed in Yemen, reports which were refuted when their names appeared on the February 2009 list of 85 wanted.‘800 repent’JEDDAH – The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Islamic Call and Guidance has said that programs to counter “deviant thought” have been proving successful, with some 800 “advocates of the thought” turning away from their beliefs through the ministry’s Al-Sakina (“serenity”) website scheme.
Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdul Aziz Aal Al-Sheikh, speaking to Al-Madina newspaper Thursday, said that 800 of 2,800 individuals had “repented” through the site on which a group of preachers directly debate them in attempts to “erase the misconceptions nesting in their minds”.
“Some of them were outside the Kingdom, and there was lengthy and constructive dialogue with them,” Aal Al-Sheikh said of the scheme which is conducted in complete anonymity.
“Some of them raised strong points in the debate, but the preachers met them head on with their arguments,” he told Al-Madina.
Aal Al-Sheikh said that khateebs – persons who give Friday sermons in mosques – still have “a lot to do to explain to the public the malicious acts and misconceptions on which they base their arguments which reflect their superficial understanding of Islamic jurisprudence”.
The minister described the penalties in place for khateebs who fail to follow sermon guidelines, saying cautions were given, followed by referral to a committee of scholars, and lastly “action taken against them if they commit major mistakes”.
There are, according to Aal Al-Sheikh, two types of mosques that are not tied to the ministry: mosques on highways, and mosques “at stations”.
The first, he said, are the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport, the second the responsibility of municipalities.