Riyadh Attack Was First Al Qaeda Attempt on Life of Saudi Royal – Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

The night in Riyadh was torn Wednesday, December 29, by three huge explosions – not just the two officially confirmed. They were followed by long bursts of gunfire in northern and eastern Riyadh.
debkafile‘s exclusive counter-terror sources reveal that the three car bomb blasts were part of an al Qaeda attempt on the life of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdelaziz, son of the Saudi interior minister, deputy minister and director of the ministry’s security unit which runs the war on terror. This was the first attempt by Osama bin Laden’s organization to assassinate a member of the Saudi royal family. It is a pivotal event in that it sharply escalates the terrorist offensive besetting the kingdom and raises the stakes on both sides.
By targeting interior minister Prince Nayef’s son, the terrorists declared open warfare on the minister who had been trying for the past year to maintain a dialogue with the Saudi cell through his connections in the clergy. According to our sources, Saudi cell leader Saud bin Hamoud al-Uteibi marked out the Nayef family after concluding that the interchanges the minister initiated were not on the level but an effort to plant his agents inside the terror cell and break it up from within.
Had the assassination plot against Prince Mohammed succeeded, a major upheaval would have ensued – destabilizing not only the oil kingdom but sending tremors around the Arab and Muslim Middle East as well. The balance of America’s war on Qaeda would have been affected and the ceiling lifted on oil prices. The sharp 4% rise in response to first news flash of the attempted murder was but an augury of the upsets to come.
According to debkafile‘s counter terror sources, the first of the three blasts occurred at 20:35 local time in a traffic tunnel in the town center through which Prince Mohammed’s convoy drove to his office. Al Qaeda operatives had spied on him and detonated the bomb car in the opposite lane as the prince’s car drove past. Because of the heavy Saudi news blackout, it cannot be established for sure if his five bodyguards were killed or injured.
Mohammed was on his way to a nocturnal conference with Saudi security and intelligence chiefs on the next stage of the crackdown on terrorists. Al Qaeda was in possession of the highly classified information on the time and place of the conference, the fact that Mohammed would be there to preside, and the route he would take to get there. This information also enabled the planners of the attack to prepare back-up plans in case Mohammed survived the tunnel blast. The second bomb car was therefore detonated, again by remote control, at the reinforced gates of the high-rise interior ministry building, while gunmen rained automatic fire on the entrance and parking lot. They hoped this second attempt would nail the prince as he stepped out of his car.
It was this blast that rocked the interior ministry building in the Murabaa district, shattered windows in the nearby post office, shops and post office and damaged cars.
But again their victim escaped.
Half an hour later and 8 km away, a third car blew up at the Saudi special forces recruiting center, the royal house’s primary fighting unit against al Qaeda. This time, two suicide bombers with bomb belts began hurling their explosives-laden car towards the gates, only to be repulsed by fierce fire from the guards. Although the car blew up short of the gates, it carried enough explosives to kill or injure a dozen Saudi officers inside the building.
The third failed attempt to murder Prince Mohammed also drew on the contents of the most secret contingency plans to send senior royals and their families to secure shelters if their lives were threatened. Mohammed’s protected hideout was to be the special forces recruiting center. Al Qaeda knew enough to waylay him there.
But again, their prey, suspecting his security plans had been blown, eluded his assassins.
Later, Saudi security forces pursued the terrorists through the city. They killed seven in gunfights and sustained an unspecified number of casualties themselves.

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