DUBAI (Reuters) – Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a brother-in-law of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a raid on his home in Madagascar, his brother said on Wednesday.
Malek Khalifa told Dubai-based Al Arabiya television that the aim of the killers appeared to have been to rob his brother, Jamal Khalifa, who mined and traded precious stones in Madagascar.
Malek said a gang of 20 to 30 gunmen broke into his brother’s bedroom on Tuesday, shot him dead “in cold blood” and stole his belongings. Arabiya said the businessman was staying at a precious stones mine he owns in Madagascar when he was killed.
“We still don’t have a complete picture of the incident,” Khalifa told Arabiya by telephone from Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea port of Jeddah. “I don’t think it was politically motivated,” he added in response to a question.
Jamal was alleged to have helped finance the Islamist militant Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines.
But Malek Khalifa denied his brother was involved in political activity, and said that apart from family ties, Jamal had no links to bin Laden, who has been stripped of his Saudi citizenship.
Khalifa said the Saudi authorities had been informed of the killing.