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Saudi Arabia names 47 most-wanted terrorists


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Saudi Arabia's 47 most-wanted terrorists linked to al Qaeda. Image created by The Long War Journal from a list published at The Saudi Gazette.

Saudi Arabia's interior ministry has issued a new list of 47 most-wanted Saudi terrorists linked to al Qaeda. All of the 47 most-wanted leaders and fighters belonging to al Qaeda are outside of the Saudi kingdom.

Mansour al Turki, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, announced the names of most-wanted Saudis at a press conference in Riyadh on Jan. 9. A list was sent to Interpol last week.

Turki said the Saudis are "extremely dangerous," according to The Saudi Gazette, which also published the photos of the 47 wanted terrorists.

"They have had training in the use of arms, and some of them have had leadership roles in al Qaeda," Turki said.

According to Turki, none of the 47 al Qaeda operatives are in the Kingdom. Twenty-seven of them are thought to be in Pakistan and Afghanistan, 16 are thought to be in Yemen, and four more are believed to be in Iraq.

Missing from the current list of most-wanted Saudis are some of the top leaders of al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda; Osama's sons, Mohammed, Said, and Hamza bin Laden, both of whom hold senior leadership positions; Sheikh Saeed al Saudi, Osama's brother-in-law and a senior al Qaeda leader; Said al Shihri, the deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; and Shaykh Muhammad Abu Fa'id, a top financier and a manager for Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia.

Several Saudi al Qaeda leaders, some of whom were not on the kingdom's previous lists of most-wanted terrorists, have been killed in Afghanistan and Yemen over the past year. In a propaganda tape released last fall, al Qaeda announced the deaths of commanders Abu abd al Rahman al Madani, Abu Salamah al Najdi, and Luqman al Makki. The three Saudis were said to have been killed in Afghanistan. A US airstrike in Kunar province in September 2010 killed Sa'ad Mohammad al Shahri, a longtime jihadist and the son of a retired Saudi colonel.

In December 2010, Yemeni security forces killed Abu Hammam Qahtani, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's propagandist, who founded the terror group's media arm. Qahtani was wanted by the Saudi government.



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READER COMMENTS: "Saudi Arabia names 47 most-wanted terrorists"

Posted by C-Low at January 11, 2011 8:07 AM ET:

Bill


This made me wonder. We have not heard or seen of Zawahiri for sometime now. The last I really remember hearing was a few audio tapes released after some of his family and son were killed sometime ago (Bush was still pres just prior election).

What is the scuttlebut was he replaced as the lead did we kill or cripple him in one of our many strikes?

Posted by Caratacus10ad at January 11, 2011 3:56 PM ET:

"Missing from the current list of most-wanted Saudis are some of the top leaders of al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda; Osama's sons, Mohammed, Said, and Hamza bin Laden, both of whom hold senior leadership positions; Sheikh Saeed al Saudi, Osama's brother-in-law and a senior al Qaeda leader; Said al Shihri, the deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; and Shaykh Muhammad Abu Fa'id, a top financier and a manager for Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia."

This strikes me as extremely odd too...

Does Saudi Arabia consider these people as a threat or not to Saudi interests?

If not a threat(?)

Why not?

Posted by daltex123 at January 11, 2011 4:54 PM ET:

he is still around and the last tape i heard was during the floods in pakistan

Posted by Villiger at January 11, 2011 6:06 PM ET:

How many other countries around the globe can boast of such an impressive portfolio of global terrorists? (Even taking into account that OBL and family are not listed.) However they compile these lists, this can only be a sampling.

It'll be interesting to see what Cablegate might yet reveal about the US-Saudi conversation on The Long War in general and the Saudi-Pakistan jihad axis, in particular.

One of those Saudi 'royal' family types called Zardari 'dirty but not dangerous'; Nawaz Sharif 'dangerous but not dirty'. And expressed some satisfaction with Kayani, who in my opinion, as the one who provides safe houses and havens to all these thugs, is both 'dirty and dangerous'. US money has to stop aiding this terror mill.

But no, they say that Biden is going to advise them that the US is ready to double-down. What a spiders web all this is.

Posted by Anon at January 11, 2011 6:35 PM ET:

You have to remember this list serves as an addition to previous lists - hence the lack of UBL, Zawahiri, Shihri et al.

Posted by steve m. at January 11, 2011 8:18 PM ET:

What is the explanation for some of those big fish being left off the list?

Posted by Bill Roggio at January 11, 2011 9:35 PM ET:

Anon there has been carry-over in these lists, so I don't think that is correct. Zawahiri isn't a Saudi, KSA only puts its own on the lists. I think OBL and Co. aren't on the list because they've had their citizenship revoked back in 2003.

Posted by Paul at January 12, 2011 9:36 AM ET:

The Saudis should look at their school/mosque education to find out why there are so many terrorist/holy fighters!

Posted by Charu at January 12, 2011 4:19 PM ET:

Chief among these ought to be the Saudi exporters of the Wahabi poison around the world. But that, for the likes of Turki, would be looking into the mirror.

Posted by Mick Young at January 14, 2011 7:45 AM ET:

It wouldn't suprise me if a large majortity of those on the Saudi list are living in relative comfort in the UK, we have a policy that we do not allow people without a valid passport into our counrty :-) however if you manage to blag your way thru, guess what you can stay and there's nothing we do about it because it contravines their human rights.

We also give them a large house to fit all their family in and we also give them money each week to live on, they also get free national health care.

I am of the opinion that if they even smell fishy lock em up, question them and everyone that they are associated and then remove them to their place of origin unless of course they are wanted, then hand them over to whoever will get the job done, cause it certainly is not the UK

Posted by Maximus at January 18, 2011 12:14 PM ET:

I got the same question as steve m. Why are there a few missing higher ups, any reason for it or just lowered threat level so to speak?