Al-Qaeda urged soldiers to help topple the Saudi monarchy and kill Christians and government officials in the kingdom, said someone purporting to be a leader of the group in a recording.
Al-Qaeda ordered supporters in the Saudi army to “collect information on everything related to the Saudi royal family” in an effort to dethrone them, a speaker identified as Saeed al- Shihri said in an Arabic-language recording posted today on a website that often carries al-Qaeda statements. The identity of the speaker could not immediately be verified.
The group has accused the Saudi monarchy of helping the U.S. to wage war against Muslims through its military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. Al-Qaeda in June ordered sympathizers in the military to abduct Saudi princes, ministers and Christian residents.
The U.S. embassy warned its citizens in the kingdom that it has credible information that unidentified extremists may be planning to attack western nationals in al-Qassim province north of Riyadh, according to a Warden Message on its website dated Aug. 4. The timing and method of potential attacks aren’t known, according to the statement.
“Some members of Saudi government’s army requested us to give them orders on whether to stay in their jobs or to go to Yemen to join al-Qaeda’s camps,” al-Shihri said in the recording. “Unite ranks, call for Jihad within your departments, and form Islamic cells to attract whoever can help in military or political organizational work.”
The al-Qaeda leader also called on its followers in the armed forces to attack Israel from northwestern Saudi Arabia. “Carry your arms against Israel, which is only few kilometres away from you,” al-Shihri said. “Whoever among you is a pilot should seek martyrdom in the skies of Palestine, and who works in the navy should aim his weapon at the Jews there.”
Saudi Arabia, holder of one-fifth of global oil reserves, stepped up its anti-terrorism fight against al-Qaeda in 2004 after militants attacked an oil installation and stormed a housing complex in the Persian Gulf city of al-Khobar, killing 22 foreign workers. In March, Saudi forces detained more than 100 terror suspects, including some allegedly plotting attacks on energy installations.
Many al-Qaeda fighters fled across the 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) border to Yemen to escape Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on militants. As many as 11 Saudis who returned from the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention facility, including al-Shihri, escaped to Yemen, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki said in June.
“You who work as guards for tyrants, princes, ministers or complexes where Christians live, or can reach them, seek help from Allah to kill them,” al-Shihri said in the recording. “Together, let’s overthrow the Al Saud family.”
Al-Qaeda targeted Western nationals in a campaign of kidnappings and bombings from 2003 onwards as it sought to destabilize the ruling Al Saud family. There hasn’t been a terrorist attack against foreigners in the kingdom since February 2007 when four people, including two workers at Schneider Electric SA, died in an attack by gunmen on a desert road.