In Saudi Arabia, Fresh Recruits for al-Qaeda

(Christian Science Monitor) Faiza Saleh Ambah - Despite a stiff crackdown against al-Qaeda terrorists by Saudi authorities since last May, the group continues to gather new recruits and enjoy logistical support from sympathizers, analysts say. While the Interior Ministry has handed out thousands of booklets with photos of 26 men wanted in connection with the November Muhaya housing compound bombing, 22 of those men remain at large. "Despite the large security presence and substantial reward money offered by the government, suspects still enjoy cover within Saudi society and continue to hide and remain in and around the capital," says Mansour al-Nogaidan, a columnist for the newspaper Al Riyadh. "The picture the authorities had of al-Qaeda's strength in Saudi Arabia was not accurate. They have more sympathizers and fighters than they thought, and their language of violence continues to find takers here and support among a segment of Saudi society that shares the common religious ideology of Wahhabism," says Adel al-Toraifi, a columnist at the newspaper Al Watan.

2004-04-17 00:00:00

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