A Twitter account linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a series of tweets today eulogizing a fallen Saudi fighter killed in clashes between AQAP and the Houthi Shi’ite rebels in northern Yemen.
The Twitter eulogy, or honorific biography, gives the fighter’s name as Mohammad Omar Hejeil al Si’ri, also known by his nom de guerre, “Shaddad al Sharouri.” Al Si’ri, a father of two, was allegedly born in 1982 in Sharurah, a town in the southern Saudi province of Najran that straddles the border with Yemen. His biography claims that al Si’ri used to be employed in the security services at the Saudi royal palace in Riyadh and “then Allah blessed him and he was separated from work.” Al Si’ri then spent a period of time traveling between different countries looking for work.
His biography continues with al Si’ri’s detention, for reasons that are not mentioned, in a Saudi prison in Abha in 2008. As is commonly noted in the biographies of terrorists, during his time in prison al Si’ri reportedly “learned, benefited, and worked hard to memorize the Qur’an, and studied the Shar’iah sciences available to him.” Additionally, the Twitter biography claims that al Si’ri was tortured while in prison but that it “only increased his steadfastness and determination to support the religion.”
Only two weeks following al Si’ri’s eventual release from prison in 2012, he traveled to Yemen to join AQAP. The biography speaks of al Si’ri’s complete devotion to his religion and to jihad, explaining that he left Saudi Arabia for Yemen before “seeing his son Azzam reach nine years of age.” In fact, the biography claims that al Si’ri had only seen his son once in his life.
AQAP’s eulogy describes al Si’ri as “courageous, intrepid, generous, and noble” and notes that he would routinely make the other fighters happy by sharing jokes with them. Al Si’ri’s biography ends with his death in battle, fighting to “rescue the Sunnis in Sa’adah, in the area of Kitaf.”
Al Si’ri’s biography underscores the Saudi connection with AQAP, as the group was formed in 2009 by way of a merger between the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda. Al Si’ri is also not the only Saudi AQAP member who allegedly worked in the Saudi royal security services. Sa’id al Shihri, a former AQAP deputy killed in a US drone strike in late 2012 or early 2013, served for a time as a member of the Saudi Royal Guard Regiment entrusted with protecting then Crown Prince Abdallah bin Abdul ‘Aziz.