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Kidnapped Saudi envoy makes new video plea

Al Khalidi says government must release more prisoners

Image Credit: AFP
An image from the video shows Al Khalidi making his thirdappeal to Riyadh to help secure his release, according to theSITE Intelligence Group.
Gulf News

Sana’a: A Saudi Arabian diplomat held hostage in Yemen since March by Al Qaida has made a third video appeal to Riyadh to help secure his release, according to the Site Intelligence Group.

In the three minute 57 second video, Abdullah Al Khalidi says the Saudi government took “a step in the right direction” when it freed some women from jail, “but it must release more prisoners,” according to the US-based Site, which monitors jihadist internet forums.

Al Khalidi, Saudi’s deputy consul in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, was abducted on March 28 by Al Qaida militants seeking to secure the release of female prisoners and to collect a ransom.

In the video posted online on Wednesday, Al Khalidi pleads with the Saudi authorities to meet the kidnappers’ demands.

“I am a Saudi citizen who served the Saudi government in more than one place and more than one site. Don’t I deserve to be released for some women and some shaikhs?” he asks.

Al Khalidi had made similar appeals on May 25 and again on July 1.

Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the network’s Yemen branch, claimed responsibility for Al Khalidi’s abduction in April.

He is the third Saudi national to be kidnapped in Yemen in as many years.

Al Qaida has exploited the weakening central government in Sana’a to strengthen its presence in Yemen, launching deadly attacks against security forces, especially across the restive south and south-east.

Saudi Arabia itself witnessed a wave of deadly attacks by Al Qaida between 2003 and 2006, which prompted authorities to launch a crackdown on the local branch of the jihadist network founded by slain Saudi-born Osama Bin Laden.