Lawsuit: Saudi Hit Squad Sent To Canada To Try To Kill Former Intel Official

Screengrab / Al Jazeera English / YouTube

Artivia Tahir

Former Saudi intelligence official accuses Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of an assassination attempt

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia allegedly sent a hit squad after one of his former top intelligence officers, Saad Aljabri, who had fled to Toronto, according to The Star.

  • The hitmen, known as the Tiger Squad, were stopped at Canada’s Pearson International Airport just days after the brutal killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in the fall of 2018.
  • In a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Aljabri seeks damages from bin Salman for the “attempted extrajudicial killing” and for violating international law.
  • The Star noted that “none of the allegations have been proven in court,” adding that it “is seeking to corroborate the allegations with Canadian law-enforcement agencies and has reached out to Saudi embassy officials in Ottawa and Washington, as well as Global Affairs Canada, for comment.”
  • Aljabri still believes himself to be in “dire peril” and that his two children, who were detained in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, are being used as human bait to lure him out of hiding.

In March, dozens of armed men stormed the Aljabri family home in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, abducted two of Aljabri’s children — Omar and Sarah, both in their early 20s — and took them to an unknown location, according to the lawsuit. Other relatives have also been detained.

  • The lawsuit stipulates that Aljabri was targeted because of his close ties with the U.S. intelligence community. The lawsuit states:

“That combination of deep knowledge and enduring trust by top U.S. officials is why there is virtually no one defendant bin Salman wants dead more than Dr. Saad.”

  • The filing also indicates that “Aljabri developed a close relationship with U.S. intelligence officials on counterterrorism files and was credited with helping to thwart a bomb attack in the U.S. by an al-Qaida affiliate,” The Star wrote.
  • The lawsuit also described the alleged attempt on Aljabri’s life by the hit squad:

“Carrying two bags of forensic tools, and complete with forensic personnel experienced with the cleanup of crime scenes — including an instructor in the exact same criminal evidence department as the forensic specialist who dismembered Khashoggi with a bone saw — the Tiger Squad Defendants attempted to enter Canada covertly, travelling on tourist visas and seeking to avert the detection of Canadian border security by entering through separate kiosks.”

  • Four U.S. senators wrote a letter to President Donald Trump on Aljabri’s behalf last month. They said that the U.S. had a “moral obligation” to help the family and wrote:

“The Saudi government is believed to be using the children as leverage to try to force their father’s return to the kingdom from Canada, where he resides.”

Read the full report.

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