Saudi diplomat pleads for release


Mon, May 28, 2012 - Page 6

A Saudi diplomat kidnapped nearly a month ago in Yemen’s south has appealed to King Abdullah to meet al-Qaeda demands to secure his release, according to a video posted on jihadist Internet forums.

“I appeal to King Abdullah ... and the Saudi government to save me and release me from al-Qaeda organization in return for releasing the sisters detained in [Saudi] general investigation prisons and fulfilling the remaining demands of the organization,” Saudi Arabian Deputy Ambassador Abdullah al-Khalidi said in the video, posted late on Friday and published by SITE Intelligence Group.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) abducted Khalidi in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden on March 28 in a bid to secure the release of prisoners and collect a ransom.

“I also appeal to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques [King Abdullah] to return me to my family, my children and my wife,” said Khalidi who appeared calm in the nearly four-minute video.

A Saudi interior ministry spokesman, cited by the official SPA news agency, said that the abductors were “responsible for the security of Abdullah al-Khalidi.”

The spokesman added that there was no indication of when the video was recorded, suggesting that Riyadh had not had news of the hostage’s fate.

In the video, Khalidi talked about what he said was the work of the Saudi consulate in Aden, saying it “recruits collaborators and spies who work directly with the consulate by gathering information, monitoring posts held by al-Qaeda, as well as its leaders and jihadists.”

“This information is sent to US forces which raid these targets using drones,” Khalidi said.

Attacks on al-Qaeda by Yemeni forces and suspected US drones have increased lately, including an air raid on May 6 that killed jihadist network leader Fahd al-Quso, wanted by Washington in connection with the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden Harbor.

US media reported that a Saudi spy, reportedly a “mole” or “double agent,” spent weeks with AQAP and garnered sensitive information that allowed the CIA to launch the drone strike against Quso.

Khalidi is the third Saudi to be kidnapped in Yemen in as many years.