Top al-Qaeda leader spells out tactics for guerrilla warfare in Saudi Arabia
A SENIOR al-Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia issued a battle plan yesterday for an urban guerrilla war in the kingdom, already reeling from recent attacks on western and security targets.
The Arabic-language statement, posted on several Islamist websites and purportedly from Abdulaziz al-Muqrin, gave a detailed list of steps militants should take to succeed in a violent campaign against the Saudi royal family.
"Working in cities needs small groups comprising no more than four people," the statement said. "The activists must be residents of this city to avoid spies and suspicious eyes." It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the statement but Islamic sites have carried similar messages from Muqrin, said to have taken over the leadership of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia after the killing earlier this year of its top operative, Khaled Ali Ali Haj.
Oil markets are on edge over the possibility of a strike on oil facilities in the kingdom, the world’s biggest crude exporter.
Saudi Arabia has battled a tide of militancy since a string of suicide bombings last year killed 50 people, including nine US citizens. The attacks were blamed on al-Qaeda, also behind the 11 September, 2001, attacks on US cities.
Analysts say al-Qaeda followers are waging a guerrilla-style campaign in the kingdom.
Militants recently clashed with police in the capital, Riyadh, and the nearby town of Buraida, and used suicide bombers to hit government targets and housing compounds for westerners.
In the statement, Muqrin also urged his followers to "learn from the lessons of their predecessors" and inform potential attackers only about the role they will play and not about the whole plot.
In statements on Islamist sites recently, Muqrin claimed responsibility for a shooting this month at a petrochemical complex in the Saudi city of Yanbu that killed five westerners.
He has also promised deadlier attacks in the kingdom and other Muslim states.
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