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Family of exiled Saudi officer targeted: Report

Monday - May 25, 2020 2:23 pm , Category : WORLD
Riyadh, May 25 (IANS) A senior Saudi security official, who for years was the key go-between for the UK's MI6 and other Western spy agencies in Riyadh, was now being persecuted along with his family, according to former intelligence officials.
Saad al-Jabri, who helped foil an al-Qaeda bomb plot against the West, fled into exile three years ago. Now his children have been seized as "hostages", the BBC report on Monday quoted his son, Khalid al-Jabri as saying.
"Omar and Sarah were kidnapped at dawn on March 16 and taken out of their beds by about 50 state security officers who arrived in 20 cars," said Khalid al-Jabri.
The family house in Riyadh was then searched, the CCTV memory cards removed and the pair, aged 21 and 20 respectively, held incommunicado at a detention centre.
There have been no charges given and no reason offered to the family for their arrest, Khalid told the BBC from Canada where he and his father live in self-imposed exile. "
We don't even know if they are alive or dead."
He believes they were being held as bargaining chips in an attempt to force his father to return to Saudi Arabia where he fears he will face immediate arrest and imprisonment.
"They can make up any lies they want about him but he is innocent," Khalid al-Jabri added.
The Saudi authorities have not responded to the BBC's requests for comment on the allegations made by the family and those who worked with him.
According to the BBC report, Saad al-Jabri was the right-hand man, the gatekeeper, to Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was widely credited with defeating the Al Qaeda insurgency in the 2000s.
He was also the linchpin in all Saudi Arabia's relations with the "Five Eyes" (US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) intelligence agencies.
In 2010 this crucial link "helped save hundreds of lives", according to a former Western intelligence officer who worked with him.
Al Qaeda in Yemen had smuggled a powerful bomb on-board a cargo plane bound for Chicago, hidden inside a printer ink toner cartridge. But Saudi intelligence had a human informant inside the terror group who provided the tip-off to MI6, even relaying the serial number of the device it was hidden in.
British counter-terrorism police then located and defused the bomb inside the plane at East Midlands Airport.
"If that had gone off as planned over Chicago hundreds would have been killed," the BBC quoted the former intelligence officer as saying.
"Al-Jabri transformed Saudi counter-terrorism efforts," says another former western intelligence official.

--IANS ksk/