I vow to my fellow citizens and to the friends who reside among us, that the State will be vigilant about their security and well-being. Our nation is capable, by the Grace of God Almighty and the unity of its citizens, to confront and destroy the threat posed by a deviant few and those who endorse or support them. With the help of God Almighty, we shall prevail.
Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister
and Commander of the National Guard, May 13, 2003
Actions to Counter Terrorism
* Questioned thousands of suspects
* Arrested more than 600 individuals
* Broke up a number of Al-Qaeda cells
* Seized large quantities of arms caches
* Extradited suspects from other countries
* Set up joint task forces with the United States
Yousif Salih Fahad Al-Ayeeri, a.k.a. Swift Sword, a major Al-Qaeda operational planner and fundraiser, was killed on May 31 while fleeing from a security patrol.
Ali Abdulrahman Said Alfagsi Al-Ghamdi, a.k.a. Abu Bakr Al-Azdi, surrendered to Saudi authorities. Al-Ghamdi, considered one of the top Al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia, is suspected of being one of the masterminds of the May 12 bombings in Riyadh.
Turki Nasser Mishaal Aldandany, another top Al-Qaeda operative and mastermind of the May 12 bombings, was killed on July 3 along with three other suspects in a gun battle with security forces that had them surrounded.
Eleven suspects were taken into custody on May 27 and May 28 in the city of Madinah. Weapons, false identity cards and bomb-making materials were confiscated. In addition, Saudi national Abdulmonim Ali Mahfouz Al-Ghamdi was arrested, following a car chase. Three non-Saudi women without identity cards, who were in the car he was driving, were detained.
Saudi security raided a terrorist cell on June 14 in the Alattas building in the Khalidiya neighborhood of Makkah. Two Saudi police officers and five suspects were killed in a shootout. Twelve suspects were arrested, and a number of booby-trapped Qur’ans and 72 home-made bombs, in addition to weapons, ammunition, and masks were confiscated.
On July 21 Saudi authorities defused terrorist operations which were about to be carried out against vital installations and arrested 16 members of a number of terrorist cells after searching their hideouts in farms and houses in Riyadh Province, Qasim Province and the Eastern Province. In addition, underground storage facilities were found at these farms and homes containing bags, weighing over 20 tons, filled with chemicals used in the making of explosives.
Three men were arrested on July 25 at a checkpoint in Makkah for possessing printed material that included a “religious edict” in support of terrorist acts against Western targets.
Saudi security forces killed on July 28 six terrorist suspects and injured one in a gunfight at a farm in Qasim Province, 220 miles north of the capital, Riyadh. Two Saudi security officers were killed and eight suffered minor injuries. Four people who harbored the suspects were arrested. Nine security officers have been killed and 19 injured in counter-terrorism activities since May 12.
Security forces surrounded a group of suspected terrorists in an apartment in the city of Jizan on September 23, 2003. During a gun battle, one security officer was killed and four officers injured. Two suspects were arrested and one suspect was killed. The suspects were armed with machine guns and pistols and a large quantity of ammunition.
On October 5, 2003 security forces arrested three suspects during a raid in the desert to the east of Riyadh. On October 8, 2003 security forces raided a farm in the northern Muleda area of Qasim Province and were able to arrest a suspect. Three other suspects fled the scene. Two security officers suffered injuries. Security forces found large amounts of material to make explosives and light weaponry in the farm where the suspects had been hiding.
On October 20, 2003 Saudi security forces raided several terrorist cells in various parts of the country, including the city of Riyadh, the Al-Majma’a District in Riyadh Province, Makkah Province, the Jeddah District of Makkah Province, and Qasim Province. Security forces confiscated items including C4 plastic explosives, home-made bombs, gas masks, and large quantities of assault rifles and ammunition.
On Monday, November 3, 2003, Saudi police arrested six suspected Al-Qaeda militants after a shootout in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. The raid on an apartment triggered a shootout that left two suspected terrorists dead, and one security officer wounded. Officers also seized a large cache of weapons they believe were stockpiled for attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The militants had rented the apartment for just the month of Ramadan.
On Thursday, November 6, 2003, Saudi security forces encircled two terrorists in Riyadh. The terrorists shot at the security forces and committed suicide by blowing themselves up.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on November 2, 2003: “The Saudi government, particularly since they were attacked some weeks and months ago, has been very aggressive, more aggressive than ever in the past.”
Attorney General John Ashcroft commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts in the war on terrorism and stated, on August 29, 2003: “I believe that progress is being made and I think not only that it (cooperation) is good but it continues to improve.”
Saudi Arabia and the United States established a second joint task force in August 2003, this one aimed at combating the financing of terror. The task force, which was initiated by Crown Prince Abdullah, is further indication of the Kingdom’s commitment to the war on terrorism and its close cooperation with the United States in eradicating terrorists and their supporters.
InMay 2003, a Saudi-U.S. task force was organized from across law enforcement and intelligence agencies to work side by side to share “real time” intelligence and conduct joint operations in the fight against terrorism. The U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Robert Jordan, described the cooperation of Saudi investigators with the U.S. law enforcement representatives as “superb”.
Saudi Arabia has provided extensive intelligence and military cooperation in the assault on Al-Qaeda. Public disclosures to date have revealed major Saudi contributions to the breakup of a number of Al-Qaeda cells, the arrests of key Al-Qaeda commanders, and the capture of numerous Al-Qaeda members.
Saudi Arabia is engaging other countries to locate and extradite Al-Qaeda operatives who may be hiding in those countries.
Actions Taken in the Financial Area
Saudi Arabia implemented the 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations on the prevention of money laundering and the eight special recommendations on terrorist financing.
Saudi Arabia has established a High Commission for oversight of all charities, contributions and donations.
A Financial Intelligence Unit was established to monitor financial transactions to ensure that funds do not reach evildoers.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States took steps to freeze the assets of a close bin Laden aide, Wa’el Hamza Julaidan.
In March 2002, the U.S. Treasury Department and Saudi Arabia blocked the accounts of the Somalia and Bosnia branches of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation. While the Saudi headquarters for this private charity is dedicated to helping those in need, it was determined that the Somalia and Bosnia branches supported terrorist activities and terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and AIAI (al-Itihaad al-Islamiya).
In February 2003, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) began to implement a major technical program to train judges and investigators on legal matters involving terrorism financing and money-laundering methods, international requirements for financial secrecy, and methods followed by criminals to exchange information.
In May 2003, Saudi Arabia asked the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and all Saudi charities to suspend activities outside Saudi Arabia until mechanisms are in place to adequately monitor and control funds so they cannot be misdirected for illegal purposes.
Also in May 2003, SAMA instructed all banks and financial institutions in the Kingdom to stop all financial transfers by Saudi charities to any accounts outside the Kingdom.
In August 2003, the Council of Ministers approved new money-laundering and terror financing laws that include harsh penalties for the crime of money laundering and terror financing.
Saudi Arabia has investigated numerous bank accounts suspected of having links to terrorism and has frozen more than 40 such accounts.
“After the terrible attacks in Riyadh on May the 12th, the government of Saudi Arabia has intensified its long-standing efforts against the Al-Qaeda network. Recently Saudi's security services apprehended Abu Bakr, believed to be a central figure in the Riyadh bombing, and killed a major Al-Qaeda operational planner and fundraiser, a man known in terrorist circles as "Swift Sword."… America and Saudi Arabia face a common terrorist threat, and we appreciate the strong, continuing efforts of the Saudi government in fighting that threat.”
George W. Bush, President of the United States, July 1, 2003