Riyadh – Saudi interior ministry announced on Sunday that it was able to identify the identities of the kidnappers of Sheikh Mohammad al-Jirani, a judge at the Endowments and Inheritance Department in the Qatif court.
Jirani was kidnapped by masked men in front of his house in Al Qatif in the Eastern Province on December 16. Authorities called for his immediate release.
The ministry said that further investigations led to the arrest of three people who took part in the crime. Those arrested included Abdullah Ali Al-Darweesh, 25; Mazen Ali al-Qabaah, 40; and Mustafa Ahmad al-Sahwan, 25.
The ministry added that the investigations also led to the identification of three people who were directly involved in the crime. They are Muhammad Hussein Ali al-Ammar, Maitham Ali Muhammad al-Qudaihi and Ali Bilal Saud al-Hamad. The names had appeared earlier on the list of nine wanted persons issued on October 30, for their involvement in a number of terrorism crimes in Qatif and Dammam.
It said that whoever reports any information that leads to the arrest of the three people will be covered by the recent royal decisions, that offer a “financial reward of SR1 million that could be raised to SR5 million if the information leads to the arrest of more than one wanted individual and to SR7 million if the information leads to thwarting a terrorist operation.”
During a press conference, Ministry security spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said investigations are ongoing into the kidnapping of Sheikh Jirani.
He said preliminary information confirms the wanted criminal, Amar, is the mastermind of the operation and had tasked the arrested individuals to monitor and follow the judge in advance of the kidnapping.
Maj-Gen Turki confirmed that security authorities do not have any information about the whereabouts of Sheikh Jirani nor concerning his health condition.
The Maj-Gen pointed out that up till now that there is currently no information about ties between the kidnapping and the incident involving the attack on the mayor of Tarut.
Turki reiterated that those arrested were supporters of the kidnappers, and do not have any information about the whereabouts of Jirani, nor information about other individuals that may be targeted among families of Qatif or Dammam.
Turki stressed that the three arrested had no ties or relations with ISIS terrorist group.
He said investigation and security efforts in the Kingdom are not based solely on protecting targeted individuals because the primary targets of terrorists are security people themselves.
He mentioned that last year, security men and military officers at the Ministry of Defense were subjected to five terrorist operations, four of which were direct targets of security men of the Ministry of Interior in Qatif and one that targeted a land forces officer in Tabuk.
“Thankfully, all the terrorists have met their fate due to the efforts and security strategy to fight such crimes,” he said.
According to Turki, terrorist incidents that occurred in the Kingdom have been supported from foreign countries and organizations, but security staff at the ministry is specialized in combating terrorism within the Kingdom.
Maj-Gen Turki said security agencies monitor and pursue all Saudis that have been lured to go to conflict areas, and are in regular contact with their families in an effort to convince them to return to the Kingdom.
Turki said the number of Saudis abroad has reached nearly 2,100 citizens, including women and children, noting that the fight against terrorism requires the efforts of the entire Saudi community in order to combat the negative effects of these extremist ideologies and promote awareness on the subject.
He concluded by saying that the escape of the kidnappers abroad is possible, but unlikely, as there is utmost trust in the work of security authorities and agencies at border posts and ports.
Also recently, Justice Minister Waleed Bin Muhammad al-Samaani, who is also the chief of the Supreme Judicial Council, expressed his concerns over the disappearance of Jirani.