Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat – Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, Saudi Arabia’s Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, survived an assassination attempt carried out by Al Qaeda on Thursday night when a suicide bomber visited the prince’s home claiming that he wanted to turn himself in.
The Royal Court released the following statement on the failed assassination attempt: ‘At 11:30pm Thursday, August 27, while Prince Mohammed Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz, the Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, was receiving a group of people who came to greet and congratulate him on the Holy Month of Ramadan, a wanted terrorist, who had previously requested to turn himself in before the prince and while being searched, blew himself up by detonating a bomb attached to his body. Prince Mohammed suffered minor injuries.’
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz enquired about the health of Prince Mohammed immediately after the failed attempt on his life. The Royal Court announced that the Saudi monarch visited Prince Mohammed in hospital shortly after the incident occurred.
Prince Mohammed told King Abdullah his account of what happened: “I was in my house waiting to receive the people and there was one person who was going to turn himself in; God made him unsuccessful [in his assassination attempt] and he blew himself up and nobody died except him…I inform you that I am fine, praise be to God, and now I am even better after having seen you.”
King Abdullah said that what happened to Prince Mohammed was fate. He told the prince it was “God’s will before anything else, praise be to God that you are safe and you are victorious and there’s nothing wrong with you. Praise be to God, anything you have lost is in the service of your religion and your country. This is the sacrifice.”
The incident occurred days after Saudi authorities discovered and broke up a 44-member terrorist cell suspected of supporting and funding most of the terrorist operations that have taken place in Saudi Arabia since mid 2003. Some information suggests that the suicide bomber had come over from Yemen and said that he had wanted to hand himself over to Prince Mohammed Bin Naif.
General Mansour al Turki, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Al Qaeda exploited Prince Mohammed’s enthusiasm to meet suspects who want to surrender themselves so that it could carry out this operation.
The Interior Ministry spokesman suggested that there would be a review of the procedures that are followed with regards to wanted suspects who want to surrender themselves, following the results of the investigations into the failed assassination attempt.
Asharq Al-Awsat visited Prince Mohammed’s office Friday and learnt that the suicide bomber was sitting to the left of Prince Mohammed when he detonated the bomb attached to his body. Initial information indicated that the bomb was planted on the left side of the suicide bomber’s body.