The Interior Ministry is seeking physical evidence to prove the death of Saleh Naif Eid Al-Makhlafi, one of 85 wanted terrorists who were on a list published by the ministry, Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the ministry told Arab News.
Al-Turki’s statement comes after NATO announced on Wednesday that an air strike in eastern Afghanistan on April 14 killed Al-Makhlafi, a wanted Saudi Al-Qaeda commander who was responsible for suicide bombings and attacks on the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops. He was one of ISAF’s most wanted targets in Afghanistan.
The 29-year-old Saudi national regularly crossed the border into Pakistan and met with senior Al-Qaeda leadership, ISAF claims.
Al-Makhlafi became Al-Qaeda’s commander and recruiter in Kunar province, training militants and sending them on attacks against NATO and Afghan security forces.
When the NATO air strike happened, Al-Makhlafi was holding a meeting in the Dangan district of Kunar with a number of Afghan, Pakistani and foreign militants, some of whom were also killed in the military strike. Al-Makhlafi was born in Riyadh according to the information presented by the ministry. ISAF had been hunting for Al-Makhlafi for four years.
Al-Makhlafi flew from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates legally about seven years ago and did not return to the Kingdom thereafter.
The list of 85 wanted terrorists has shrunken following the return of Badr Al-Shahri and Jabir Al-Feefi last year, relinquishing their extremist ideology, and the murder of Al-Makhlafi. Other names that have been removed from the list include Ahmed Al-Hadli, who is accused of orchestrating an attempt to assassinate Prince Muhammad bin Naif, assistant minister of interior. The rest are Sultan Radi Al-Otaibi, Fahd Saleh Al-Jatili, Muhammad Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid and Abdullah Al-Asiri, who blew himself in an attempt to assassinate Prince Muhammad.
Saudi police received Abdullah Al-Harbi, another wanted terrorist in March while three wanted men — Muhammad Al-Aufi, Fahd Al-Ruwaili and Fawaz Al-Otaibi — surrendered last year. Yousuf Al-Shahri and Raed Al-Harbi died while carrying out a suicide attack in Jazan last October.
Saudi Arabia announced a new list of 47 wanted terrorists earlier this year and described them as the most dangerous. It was the fifth list of wanted terrorists issued by the ministry after Al-Qaeda militants launched their terrorist operations across the Kingdom on May 12, 2003. The terrorist attacks in the Kingdom killed a total of 90 civilians — both foreigners and Saudis — and 74 members of the security forces. Agencies