Alleged al-Qaeda top aideSaudis help interrogate Al-Adhal [Archives:2003/694/Local News]

December 15 2003

Mohammed bin Sallam
Sources from the Ministry of Interior say that a Saudi team of investigators is reviewing the results of investigations conducted by Yemen security authorities with Mohammad Hamdi Al-Ahdal who was detained about two weeks ago in Sana'a.
Al-Ahdal, alias Abu Asim Al-Makki, is considered, according to official sources, the top man of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, and was pursued by authorities for more than two years.
The British Broadcasting Station (BBC) which aired the news item, indicated that the investigations revealed important information including names of members and leading figures from Gulf countries. The Ministry of Interior sources explained that presenting the Saudi team with results of the investigations is in compliance with the security agreement signed between Sana'a and Riyadh, and serving the mutual benefits especially in the field of security and stability.
The two countries had exchanged fugitives, allegedly members of Al-Qaeda, under the same agreement. Meanwhile, Al-Balagh weekly newspaper reported that investigations with Mohammad Hamdi Al-Ahdal alias Abu Asim Al-Makki, revealed the involvement of a number of prominent Arab personalities in supporting Al-Qaedah operations against foreign interests in Yemen.
According to the same sources, Al-Ahdal was in contact with prominent personalities in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait who financed the activities of Al-Qaedah members in Yemen. Security authorities, however, refuse to divulge the names of those personalities for security reasons.
The newspaper described Al-Ahdal's confessions as extremely important as it will enable the security authorities to unfold plans of the extremist groups of Al-Qaedah, and enhance the fight against terrorism.
Security athorities considers that it dealt an effective blow to Al-Qaedah organization by detaining Al-Ahdal, wanted number 2 of Al-Qaedah members in Yemen after Abu Ali Al-Harithi who was killed a while ago by the CIA in Marib desert with five of his companions.
The sources indicated that the killing of Al-Harithi caused panic in the operations of Al-Qaedah members, which hindered the restructuring of the Organization in Yemen especially in the light of the success of the security forces closing in on him until his detention on 25 November 2003, according to Al-Ahdal's confessions. Al-Ahdal, born in 1971 in Al-Madina Al-Munawwarah (the Illuminated City), Saudi Arabia, married and a father of four children residing in Yemen for a few years.
He lost one of his legs while fighting in Chechnya, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Afghanistan. Al-Ahdal is faced with severe charges of terrorist acts against foreign interests in Yemen including the attacks on the American destroyer in Aden, the USS Cole, and French oil liner, the Limburg.