Al-Qaida Escapee in Online Video

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The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

CAIRO, Egypt -- An al-Qaida militant who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan turned up in an online video posted Wednesday, assailing the Saudi royal family for its alliance with the United States.

The 45-minute video of Abu Yahia al-Libi, who broke out of the Bagram Air Base prison north of Kabul in 2005, was monitored by the IntelCenter, a U.S. government contractor that watches for al-Qaida messaging.

According to its transcript, al-Libi, whose nom de guerre means "the Libyan" in Arabic, gives a lengthy diatribe, accusing Saudi royals of seeking the White House's "praise" and "gratitude."

The video showed a black turbaned, bearded al-Libi in a camouflage uniform and a map of the Saudi Arabian peninsula. It was not possible to verify his al-Qaida connections or to know how the video came to be posted.

The film appeared on a Web site commonly used by Islamic militants and carried the logo of al-Qaida's media production wing, as-Sahab. The video _ the sixth this year by al-Libi _ had an Arabic and English transcript.

Saudi Arabia backs the U.S. "infidels" against Muslims, because from American bases in the kingdom, U.S. planes "take off, planes which carry tons of explosives to demolish the houses of the Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan," al-Libi said.

Saudi Arabia had in 2003 launched a wide offensive against extremists, after attacks on foreigners and others involved in the country's oil industry by those seeking to topple the monarchy because of its ties to the U.S.

In April, Saudi police announced the arrests of 172 Islamic militants from seven terror cells in a monthslong roundup that was one of the biggest terror sweeps in the kingdom. According to Riyadh, those arrested had planned elaborate attacks _ including with planes flown by militants trained as pilots in Sept. 11-type of attacks _ on Saudi military and oil installations.

"The tyrants of Al Saud ... wanted to offer a token which would show the earnestness of their attitude in combating what they call 'terror,' and show that they are still unwaveringly loyal ... So they waged their violent attack on the mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula," al-Libi said of the Saud family.

Saudi Arabia "also handed over a number of mujahedeen to the Americans, and at the handover, they saw them off with insults, curses, and slander and strutted and boasted about that in front of their American masters," al-Libi claimed further.

Neither Saudi nor U.S. governments have confirmed such a transfer.

"The captive Muslim was sad, humiliated, worn-out and naked as he was pulled from the vehicles of the Interior Ministry to the planes of the cross-worshipers, his heart breaking with grief and sorrow because he doesn't know which prison will swallow him just as he doesn't know which prison spit him out," al-Libi said.

He also criticized Saudi Arabia's alleged "media campaign led by well-known clerics issuing fatwas," al-Libi said. Fatwas are religious edicts that instruct Muslims on a wide range of matters.

Ben Venzke of the IntelCenter said that al-Libi has in 2007 become al-Qaida's most visible faces on the Internet, surpassing even Osama bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, in actual video appearances.