The slain Libyan strongman, Muammar Gaddafi, sought to recruit armed militants to carry out terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, according to leaked files published Wednesday by the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Fighters, including al-Qaeda mercenaries, were actively sought out in countries including Somalia, Yemen and Iraq, by the then-Libyan leader.
One of the documents published by the paper appeared to divide the armed gangs into three main groups. Separate groups were to infiltrate the kingdom from the northeast, the northwest and the south respectively. According to the document attacks were to be carried out against the capital Riyadh and the cities of Jeddah Najran, Jazan and Aseer.
The ‘southern group,’ according to the file, consisted of 6,000 “prepared” armed men, there were alleged plans to boost the number to 13,000 with the help of local Yemeni tribes.
The file said Yemeni tribesmen had expressed readiness to cooperate with Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to execute Gaddafi’s plan of attack in Saudi Arabia.
One file singled out an unidentified Libyan party which would transport armed gunmen from Somalia to Yemen and help them cross into the kingdom.
Gaddafi’s main challenge was the sheer cost of the operation. According to the documents, one group demanded $6 million from Gaddafi, another $18 million. The Iraqi group of militants allegedly demanded $7 million. A mercenary group that consisted of Yemeni tribesmen and Qaeda members reportedly demanded $7 million.
The price of training Somali militants was estimated at $10 million and the expected cost of arming every 1,000 militants was at least $7.5 million.
The aim was to supply militant groups with various weapons including RPGs, hand guns, wireless explosives and communication devices, according to the released documents.
Libyan intelligence agents were said to be in charge of surveillance activities inside Saudi Arabia. Their mandate was to identify targets and collect information on the Saudi security forces.
There was a certain disregard for the kingdom, evident in documents found in Gaddafi’s office.
“We do not want subversive acts that do not lead to a result and only awaken the currently dopey enemy,” read one intelligence file found in his Tripoli office.
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