Saudi Arab

Ex-Saudi official: Saudi Crown Prince sent kill team to target me

A former Saudi intelligence official files a lawsuit in the United States, accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of sending a hit squad to Canada to try and kill him.

Saad Aljabri, who functioned as a top aide in the Saudi Interior Ministry for years, before being forced to step down and flee to Canada, where he is in self-imposed exile, filed the lawsuit in Washington on Thursday, The New York Times reported.

The unprecedented legal case revolves around alleged attempts by the Saudi royal, who is also known as MBS, to stop Aljabri from “undermining the prince’s relationship with the United States and [US President Donald] Trump administration,” the paper wrote.

It harks back to far-and-wide indications, including those reported by The Times before, that bin Salman has been trying to silence or eliminate his opponents through violent and potentially deadly means.

The most egregious of the cases saw a Saudi kill team enter the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where bin Salman critic and former Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was about to show up in 2018 before executing and dismembering him. The dissident is widely believed to have been murdered on bin Salman’s direct orders.

‘Tiger Team’

The suit filed by Mr. Aljabri alleges that a team of Saudi agents carrying forensic gear and including forensic experts arrived at an airport in Ontario in October 2018. They tried to enter on Canadian tourist visas but were turned away by Canadian border officials, it says.

The effort, it says, has to do with the Saudi prince’s beginning to organize a 50-man death squad, nicknamed the “Tiger Team,” in the year running up to Khashoggi’s assassination to take care of the royal’s opponents.

Aljabri says the crown prince has exhausted various measures to make him return to the kingdom, including offering him a job, taking his children hostage, and threatening to extradite him on corruption charges.

In September 2017, Saudi Crown Prince asked him in a text message, “Where should we dispatch the airplane to fetch you?” and later threatened to use “all available means” to reach Mr. Aljabri, including “measures that would be harmful to you,” the suit specifies.

Aljabri says the crown prince has been seeking him out because he was privy to so many secrets.

“That combination of deep knowledge and enduring trust by top US officials is why there is virtually no one Defendant bin Salman wants dead more than” Mr. Aljabri, the suit says.

Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler amid King Salman’s ailing conditions, became heir to the throne after ousting his predecessor Mohammed bin Nayef.

He has invariably enjoyed the Trump administration’s unwavering support, including for a 2015-present Saudi-led war that has been waged against Yemen at the royal’s initiative. The current US rulers have also refused to take the prince to task over Khashoggi’s murder despite widespread reports and numerous indications that he had ordered the assassination.

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