RealNews

Saudis Facing Return of Radicals

An increasing number of Saudis who crossed the border into Iraq to fight the U.S.-led military occupation are returning home to plot attacks against the Saudi government and Western targets in the desert kingdom, according to Western counterterrorism officials and Saudis with ties to militant groups. The Iraq veterans are serving as fresh recruits for an underground network in Saudi Arabia that, until recently, was led by an older generation of fighters that had trained in Afghanistan and was closely connected to al Qaeda and its founder, Saudi native Osama bin Laden. Many of those leaders have been killed or captured in recent months by Saudi security forces. Today, the proclaimed new chief of the primary militant group in the kingdom is Saleh Awfi, 33, a Saudi who journeyed north last year to join Ansar al-Islam, an Islamic radical group in Iraq that the U.S. government has branded as a terrorist organization. Awfi stayed for a few months, barely surviving U.S. aerial bombardment, before deciding to return and take up arms in his home country, according to a former Saudi radical who met with Awfi last year. Full Story

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