Saudis In Iraq 'Preparing For A Holy War'
Increasing numbers of Saudi Arabian Islamists are crossing the border into Iraq in preparation for a jihad, or holy war, against US and UK forces, security and Islamist sources have warned. A senior western counter-terrorism official on Monday said the presence of foreign fighters in Iraq was “extremely worrying”. A statement purportedly from al-Qaeda was broadcast on Monday by the Arab satellite television channel al-Arabiya. It claimed the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the leader of the Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime Mullah Mohammed Omar were still alive. But it also asserted that recent attacks on US forces in Iraq were the work of jihadis. The focus of concern for US counter-terrorist officials was at first on a reconstituted Ansar al-Islam, the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group based in northern Iraq before the war. But US officials have recently acknowledged the presence of other foreign fighters in Iraq. Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq, said recent raids, including one near al-Qaim last month, uncovered fighters “carrying travel documents from a variety of countries”. According to Saad al-Faguih, a UK-based Saudi dissident, the Saudi authorities are concerned that up to 3,000 Saudi men have gone “missing” in the kingdom in two months, although it is not clear how many have crossed into Iraq. Full Story