The Middle East Newsline reports senior Iraqi officials have determined Saudis remain a key element in the foreign presence within the al-Qaida network in Iraq.
They said the Saudis serve as financiers as well as operational commanders in Islamic insurgency network.
“Lots of foreigners in al-Qaida have been ordered out of Iraq, but the Saudis remain strong,” an official said. “Because of the shared border, it has been easy for Saudis to come and go.”
Recently, Iraqi security forces captured a Saudi commander of the al-Qaida network.
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Officials said a special operations force in Basra arrested the unidentified Saudi and three of his Iraqi lieutenants.
“We think he was the commander of al-Qaida in the Basra area,” the official said.
A Saudi was deemed an “emir” or prince, a term for a commander in al-Qaida.
The Saudi, transferred to Baghdad for interrogation, was said to have been responsible for the procurement of weapons and explosives.
Until 2008, Saudis represented a major source of suicide bombers used by al-Qaida in Iraq. Over the last 18 months, al-Qaida has increasingly used Iraqis and other Arab nationals.
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