Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The father of the alleged Jeddah suicide bomber who attempted to assassinate Saudi Assistant Minister of the Interior for Security Affairs, Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, is torn between acceptance and disbelief at the Al Qaeda statement which named his son, Abdullah al-Asiri as “the perpetrator of the attack.” This uncertainty is because DNA analysis on the identity of the bomber has yet to be released, and this will confirm or refute whether al-Asiri was in fact the perpetrator or not.
Hassan al-Asiri, the father of the alleged suicide bomber, did not hesitate to meet with Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday at his home in eastern Riyadh. Al-Asiri is a man of advanced years who walks with the aid of a cane; he also suffers from a neurological disease, the symptoms of which include involuntary hand movements.
Despite the Al Qaeda statement confirming that his son, Abdullah al-Asiri, was responsible for carrying out the failed attack on the Assistant Minister of the Interior for Security Affairs, Hassan al-Asiri told Asharq Al-Awsat that he hopes that this is not true.
Hassan al-Asiri also confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that both his sons, Abdullah “the alleged suicide bomber” and his brother, Ibrahim, were included on the list of 85 most wanted suspects issued by the Saudi Interior Ministry. Al-Asiri added that prior to their mutual disappearance almost 3 years ago, he did not notice any change in the ideological belief of his sons.
Security information indicates that the al-Asiri brothers were last seen in Yemen. Hassan al-Asiri also revealed that his son, Abdullah, had reached the third year of university education prior to dropping out, whilst Ibrahim al-Asiri had been studying at King Saud University’s Faculty of Science.
The father of the two men who are wanted by the Saudi Arabian security apparatus informed Asharq Al-Awsat that they both had a passion for doing charitable works, and during Ramadan of each year, would stand at the traffic lights and help to distribute food to those who were fasting. Hassan al-Asiri also said that he did not know what had promoted his two sons to join the Al Qaeda organization.
Al-Asiri also told Asharq Al-Awsat of his hope that his son would return to their senses, saying “I hope that it is not long before they return to their previous convictions, and do not allow the devils to continue exploiting them.’
Hassan al-Asiri also told Asharq Al-Awsat that he last spoke to his sons, Abdullah and Ibrahim, one and a half years ago. He said that during this telephone conversation he attempted to convince them to return, but they had rejected this idea, and have not contacted the family since.
Asked whether he would like to send a message to Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, Hassan al-Asiri said “This man is a model that should be emulated to achieve goodness, a man of perfect qualities, and I pray to God that he does not suffer any harm.”