Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat – Maj. Gen Mansour al-Turki, spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the attempt by the Al-Qaeda organization to assassinate prominent figures in Saudi Arabia is not something new.
He noted that the operations carried out by the Saudi security forces to dismantle a number of terrorist cells revealed that this organization had considered this approach. He said that the Interior Ministry announced in the past that sleeping cells had made plans to assassinate senior government officials and liquidate other prominent figures and eminent clerics. He added: “It seems that they wanted to take advantage of Prince Mohammed’s constant call on those who have been misled to hand over themselves and of his desire to instill confidence in them by sparing them strict search as they handed themselves over. He wanted to express confidence in them and his joy over their return to the right path.”
Major General Al-Turki said that there will be no change in the security procedures, and that the incident will only increase the insistence of security officials, primarily Prince Naif Bin-Abdulaziz, second deputy prime minister and interior minister; and Prince Mohammed Bin-Naif Bin-Abdulaziz, the assistant interior minister; on pursuing the same path in dealing with those wanted insecurity cases until they return to the right path.
Major General Al-Turki pointed out that there are long-standing measures in dealing with any wanted men, but that obliging to Prince Mohammed’s desire not to search the individual who carried out the suicide attack the day before yesterday, he was not searched. The prince wanted to express his happiness at the return of one of the homeland’s sons to the right path.
In reply to a question by Asharq Al-Awsat on the salutary lesson learned from the incident and on the information that the Al-Qaeda organization had about Prince Mohammed’s desire to personally receive wanted men who wished to hand themselves over to him personally, Major General Al-Turki said that we will take security measures in the forthcoming stage in light of the outcome of the investigation into the sinful attempt. He stressed that it is in the interest of the investigations not to disclose the name of the suicide bomber who carried out the attack that targeted the assistant interior minister.
Major General Al-Turki said that many wanted men have handed themselves over to Prince Mohammed personally. He noted that many of those on the wanted list who wished to hand themselves over asked that they do it before Prince Mohammed personally. He said that in some operations security men cornered wanted men who lost hope of escape and who asked to hand themselves over to Prince Mohammed. They were given the opportunity to hand themselves over to Prince Mohammed. He said Prince Mohammed’s instructions were clear that “the desire of everyone who wanted to hand himself over should be met the way he wanted.”