Saudi families seeking to trace five long-lost sons have uncovered some of the convoluted trails of al Qaeda extremists across the Middle East. This one has ended, for the time being, at the Palestinian Ein Hilweh refugee camp near Sidon, in southern Lebanon. There, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s counter-terror sources report, the five missing men have set up an operational command group for the al Qaeda terrorist networks in the camp.
They were located by their families from satellite channel broadcasts by Shaqer al-Abessi, the Fatah al-Islam leader who fought the Lebanese in the Nahr al-Bared battle in northern Lebanon up until August 2006, and was now threatening more attacks on Lebanon.
This group of Saudi nationalists are named here as Al Hamidi al-Dosari, Khaled al-Da’eis, Turki al-Ghamdi, Omar al Ka’bour and Hammad al-Shammari.
Turki al-Ghamdi is identified by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s counter-terror sources as the first cousin of one of the 9/11 hijackers, Said al-Ghamdi, who is said to have piloted the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania.
Hammad al-Shammari was held in Guantanamo Bay and released to Saudi custody on May 11, 2005.
Al-Hamidi al Dosari‘s father, hearing that his son was in Iraq, rushed to Syria and handed the Saudi embassy photos in the hope of finding him. A second call claiming to come from Iraq was sourced to Beirut. Finally, Al Hamidi junior called to reproach his family for contacting Saudi security authorities and hung up. They later discovered that under the pseudonym of Abu Salim Taha, he had acted as Fatah al-Islam spokesman during the Nahr al-Bared battles.
Our Islamist terror experts note that it is the first time in the seven years of war on terror that senior Saudi al Qaeda operatives have set up a command center in a Palestinian refugee camp with the complicity of local Palestinian factions, including the Fatah organization which is loyal to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Al-Hamidi al-Dosari, whose father hunted for him in Syria, is the senior commander of the five-man command group at Ein Hilweh – and therefore of al Qaeda networks in all of South Lebanon.
It was he who orchestrated the terrorist attacks in Lebanon and Israel that were timed for President George W. Bush‘s Middle East tour.
They included the Katyusha attack on the Israeli Galilee town of Shlomi on Jan. 9, and the bombing attack on a US embassy vehicle in Beirut on Jan. 15, in which four Lebanese bystanders were killed and 18 people injured. Bush was engaged at the time in talks with King Abdullah in Riyadh.
Furthermore, the car bomb used to assassinate Lebanese army Brig. Gen. Francois Hajj last month was traced to Sidon.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terror sources report that Ein Hilweh has become the hotbed of many terrorist cells and networks, some of them sleepers waiting for orders to go into action. It is feared that a fresh confrontation with terrorists is brewing up in this camp and the provincial town of Sidon, with the aim of destabilizing Lebanon.