Al-Qaida in Yemen claims failed attempt to shoot down Saudi plane in Sanaa airport

14:11, October 06, 2010      

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The Yemen-based al-Qaida affiliation said they had carried out a failed attempt to shoot down a Saudi royal family's privately-owned plane over the International Sanaa Airport in the Yemeni capital Sanaa late last year, in a video message posted on jihadist websites late on Tuesday.

They said that an armed group of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) targeted the plane of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia's deputy interior minister, while it was preparing to land in the International Sanaa Airport in the Yemeni capital Sanaa late 2009.

The Saudi prince's plane arrived in Sanaa in a well-arranged mission to transport a Saudi wanted man identified as Abdullah Essairy, who pretended to turn himself up to the Saudi Interior Ministry and later blew himself up when he shook bin Nayef's hand upon his arrival at Nayef's office in the Saudi western province of Jeddah last year, said the AQAP's message.

On Aug. 28, 2009, the Saudi deputy interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who also heads Saudi Arabia's anti-terrorism campaign, survived a suicide assassination attack for which al-Qaida militants in Yemen claimed responsibility.

The video, which commemorated the 2009 botched suicide attack that targeted bin Nayef, revealed the coordinator between the Saudi Interior Ministry and the Saudi al-Qaida wing which merged into the Yemen-based AQAP with their Yemeni counterparts in January 2009.

The coordinator was Mohammed al-Ghazali, a Yemeni intelligence officer who was seeded by the Yemeni intelligence services as a spy among AQAP's militants and was used by the Saudi Interior Ministry as a coordinator of the Yemeni-Saudi coordinated intelligence operation, a security source of the Yemeni Interior Ministry said.

The source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that "officer al-Ghazali had disappointed his (Yemeni) security leadership and embraced the al-Qaida faith and cheated both Yemeni and Saudi intelligence bodies."

Regarding al-Qaida's claim in the video about their attempt to shoot down the Saudi plane, the security source commented that "such claim was baseless and it was a part of failed propaganda of the defeated terrorist group which most of them were arrested, killed or injured in the continuing (Yemeni) interior ministry anti-terrorism campaign."

The AQAP also claimed in the hour-and-four-minute long running video that it revealed a whole network of Saudi and Yemeni spies during the failed suicide assassination attempt that targeted the Saudi deputy interior minister bin Nayef.

The video also showed the AQAP's military commander Qasim al-Raymi of Yemeni national, whom the Yemeni government said had been killed early this year, in which he spoke highly of the ailed operation and said "the assassination attempt against bin Nayef were carried out under my supervision."

Al-Raymi vowed to prepare more suicide attacks against the Saudi royal family members in the near future.

"We will come to your (Saudi royal family members) offices ... to your bedrooms, I advise you to check your bedrooms before going to sleep that there's no one of our suicide bombers or bomb in your bedrooms," al-Raymi added.

Yemen, one of the poorest Arab countries, is facing a growing resurgent al-Qaida threat. It launched a continuing anti-terrorism campaign since 2009, including air raids against al-Qaida militants in several southern and eastern provinces.

The Yemeni government has come under increasing pressure from he International community to turn its focus on fighting al-Qaida within its borders after the Yemen-based AQAP claimed responsibility for a failed attempt to blow up a U.S. passenger plane bound for Detroit last year.

Source: Xinhua


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