Saudi Crown Prince ‘sent team of 50 hit men known as the Tiger Squad to Canada in failed attempt to assassinate self-exiled former top spy Saad Aljabri, in 2018
Saad Aljabri, a former top Saudi intelligence official, filed suit in Washington DC on Thursday accusing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS, of trying to assassinate him
Aljabri has been living in exile in Toronto since MBS took power in 2017
In the lawsuit, the former Saudi cabinet level intelligence officer alleges MBS sent the ‘Tiger Squad’ of hit men to kill him using ‘forensic tools’
Canadian authorities thwarted the plot at border checkpoint in 2018, following a snafu by the team of killers – less than two weeks after killing of another Saudi exile, Jamal Khashoggi
The claimant further alleges that MBS had his son and daughter, both in their 20s, kidnapped in Saudi Arabia to ‘lure’ him
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of MBS’ style of rule was killed in October 2018, during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
CIA believes MBS ordered Khashoggi killing and the Saudi govt covered up the crown prince’s role
Aljabri alleges that the Saudi government has kidnapped his two adult children – son Omar, 21, and daughter Sarah (seen left with her father), 20 – in an attempt to lure him back to the country
Aljabri is seen [right], with his son, Omar, who along with his sister has not been heard from since March
Last month, a bipartisan group of four United States senators called on President Trump to make an effort to secure the release of Aljabri’s two children – Omar and Sarah [photo]
The lawsuit detailing the attempts on Aljabri’s life is the latest expose on the campaign undertaken by the Kingdom to force the return of Aljabri, who’s well-known and respected in Western intelligence circles, to Saudi Arabia.
Since 2017, After fleeing Saudi Arabia following a tumultuous coup over the Saudi throne in 2017, and the series of purges that followed, Aljabri has quietly been living in Canada. The lawsuit also says that Aljabri is now a permanent resident in Canada. The explosive revelations also come as there is significant ongoing tension between the Canadian and Saudi governments.
Aljabri alleges in the lawsuit that one of the reasons MBS wants him dead is because he provided intelligence to the CIA pointing to the crown prince as responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
The dastardly murder of the dissident journalist caused a global uproar, tarnishing the crown prince’s image.
The alleged plot to have Aljabri assassinated was thwarted less than two weeks after a Saudi columnist for The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. The CIA believes MBS ordered the assassination of Khashoggi
Saudi officials say he had no role, though in September MBS indicated some personal accountability, saying ‘it happened under my watch.’
Last December, Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three to jail over the murder of Khashoggi, but a United Nations investigator accused it of making a ‘mockery’ of justice by allowing the masterminds of last year’s killing to go free.
According to the lawsuit, MBS dispatched a team of agents to the US to local Aljabri.
The agents managed to pinpoint Aljabri’s location by implanting malware on his cell phone, the lawsuit alleges.
Less than two weeks after the Khashoggi killing, a ‘personal mercenary group’ known as ‘Tiger Squad’ traveled to Canada to kill Aljabri, the complaint alleges.
The members of the ‘Tiger Squad’ were carrying ‘two bags of forensic tools.’
They also had ‘forensic personnel experienced with the clean-up of crime scenes – including an instruction in the exact same criminal evidence department as the forensic specialist who dismembered Khashoggi with a bone saw.’
The lawsuit alleges that the team tried to enter Canada covertly while traveling on tourist visas.
They tried to enter the country individually while ‘seeking to avert the detection of Canadian border security by entering through separate kiosks.’
‘Upon approaching the kiosks, the Tiger Squad Defendants aroused the suspicion of Canadian border security officials, who asked them whether they knew each other,’ the lawsuit says.
‘They lied and said they did not. On information and belief, shortly thereafter, during secondary screening, Canadian officials found a photo of some of the Tiger Squad Defendants together, revealing their lie and thwarting their mission.’
Aljabri was considered a close ally of former Crown Prince, who was heir to the throne before MBS orchestrated a palace coup with the support of the Trump administration in 2017. Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they believed he had ordered the killing.
According to the lawsuit, MBS remains determined to ‘once and for all…eliminate’ Aljabri.
The Saudi ruler ‘now plans to send agents directly through the United States to enter Canada “by land”,’ the lawsuit alleges.
MBS is alleged to have received the blessing of Saudi religious authorities who issued a fatwa, or Islamic edict, calling for the death of Aljabri.
While MBS has allegedly been plotting Aljabri’s assassination, his government has also reportedly been using secret diplomatic back channels in an attempt to pressure the Canadian government to extradite Aljabri.
According to The Globe and Mail, the Saudis tried to have Aljabri arrested by issuing a ‘red notice’ through Interpol, the international law enforcement organization, in late 2017.
When that didn’t work, the Saudis pressed the Canadian government in Ottawa to extradite Aljabri last fall.
But Canada does not have an extradition treaty with the Saudi regime.
In 2018, a Saudi delegation visiting Canada asked the government to turn him over. But at the time it was not known that Aljabri had asked for asylum in Canada.
Perhaps the most shocking allegation contained in the lawsuit involves Aljabri’s two children, who have allegedly been ‘seized’ by the Saudi government in an attempt to ‘lure [their father] back’ to the kingdom.
Aljabri is considered a close ally of the US intelligence community whose assistance saved American lives after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Last month, four US senators urged President Trump to help free AlJabri’s two detained children.
Two adult children and a brother of Saad Aljabri, who is said to hold key state secrets, were detained in Riyadh in March, with a source close to the family telling AFP they were victims of a ‘Saudi game of thrones.’
Aljabri, credited by Western officials for playing a pivotal role in the kingdom’s fight against Al-Qaeda, had earlier attempted to get his children to leave Saudi Arabia but authorities had placed them under a travel ban, the source said.
‘We write to express our urgent concern about the abduction in Saudi Arabia of two children of a close US ally and friend, Dr Saad Aljabri,’ Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy, Tim Kaine and Chris Van Hollen, joined by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, said in a joint letter to Trump.
‘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 currently resides.
‘We believe the US has a moral obligation to do what it can to assist in securing his children’s freedom. We urge you to raise this issue with senior Saudi officials and press for the immediate release of Dr Aljabri’s children,’ said the letter, posted by Leahy on Twitter.
Saudi authorities have so far not publicly commented on the case.