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Al-Qaeda Propaganda Hits the Web - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- After an absence of a few months, al Qaeda has resumed its media activities with the recent appearance of a number of written and recorded statements published by an extremist website, www.asnar.net .

The statements include a voice recording by one of Saudi Arabia’s 36 most-wanted terrorists, Mohammad al Suwaylimi, in which he denied being killed in the recent confrontations between Islamic militants and the police in the eastern city of Dammam . The interior ministry had issued a retraction earlier this week and confirmed DNA analysis had shown that Ahmad, the fugitive’s brother, died in the clashes.

Details emerging about the statement, confirmed to be of Mohammad by those close to him, indicated the militant recorded his message prior to the ministry clarifying the identities of the dead but was not published until afterwards.

Suffering from a dwindling popularity in Saudi Arabia, the terrorist group praised al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi ,who had celebrated the siege of the villa in Dammam in a statement published a day after the clashes began. It is believed the two branches of al Qaeda have been coordinating of late. Zarqawi”s announcement, last July, of the death of Abdullah al Rashud, whose name is at number 26 on the most-wanted list, in Iraq , could be a mere smokescreen and an attempt to mislead the security forces. In this respect, the families of a number of terrorists on the run have been informed by anonymous individuals in countries neighboring Iraq their sons and husbands had joined the insurgency or were already dead.

Given his computer skills, observers believe Mohammad himself recorded the statement and published on the internet site, www.ansar.net , known for showcasing statements from terrorists in Iraq and which periodically changes its domain name whenever it is shut down. It is currently available to members on www.irhaab.com/ansar.net . This indicates the tape was smuggled outside of Saudi Arabia as police in the Kingdom have cracked down on those publishing terrorist material leading to a number of arrests.

The latest statement, entitled “the 21st news bulletin on the incidents in Dammam” did not include any new information. Instead, it stole heavily from reports published in the media and discussions on internet message boards. In an attempt to win favors with the public, the report alleged the terrorists did not possess any explosives, thereby exaggerating the might of the besieged men.

In what is being seen as an attempt to encourage terrorist activity in Arab countries, the statement depicted a picture where most of the region was in the throw of a military confrontation specifically named Syria and Egypt.