December 30, 2003


Al Qaeda Links Seen in Attacks on Top Saudi Security Officials (DOUGLAS JEHL, 12/30/03, NY Times)

Islamic militants in Saudi Arabia with links to Al Qaeda appear to be making a concerted new effort to destabilize the Saudi government by assassinating top security officials, according to senior American officials.

A series of assassination attempts in the last month, including a failed car bombing in the Saudi capital on Monday, have also included a previously undisclosed shooting in early December of Maj. Gen. Abdelaziz al-Huweirini. As the No. 3 official in Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry, he is the kingdom's top counterterrorism official. [...]

The Saudi royal government has long been the principal target of Osama bin Laden and his followers, but the extent of the Qaeda network inside the kingdom that has become evident in recent months has surprised many Saudi and American officials. American officials say analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency have warned that the crackdown might well provoke Qaeda militants in Saudi Arabia to step up their attacks, an assessment that was first reported by Knight Ridder newspapers.

On Sunday, the British government warned that a terrorist attack could be in the final stages of preparation in Saudi Arabia. That warning amplified others issued this month by the United States, which on Dec. 17 authorized the voluntary withdrawal of family members and nonemergency personnel from the American Embassy and consulates in the kingdom.

That al Qaeda has decided to leap ahead to their final battle while they're losing all the intermediary ones suggests a certain desperation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2003 10:38 AM
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