Saudi Arabia has officially admitted that some 1500 of its citizens are fighting for various terrorist organizations including the Islamic State in Syria.
“As many as 2,093 Saudis are fighting abroad alongside terror outfits,” the Middle Eastern country confirmed. Further, about 73 Saudis are detention abroad on terror charges.
“About 1,540 Saudis (70 percent) are fighting in Syria alongside terror networks active there,” Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki was quoted as saying by Al-Hayat Monday.
Turki added that the ministry has evidence confirming these numbers. He said 147 Saudis are fighting in Yemen, 31 in Afghanistan and Pakistan and five in Iraq.
“We have no credible data about the exact whereabouts of 297 other Saudi terrorists,” he added.
Initial figures of the Interior Ministry, there are more than 4,000 Saudis in intelligence prisons in the Kingdom awaiting trial on terrorism charges, he added.
Security forces have carried out a number of preemptive raids during which they foiled the plots of a number of terror operations and held a number of suspects.
According to the security data, the number of Saudis joining terrorist organizations is receding.
“The number of Saudis fighting alongside Daesh (the so-called IS) is much less than many people believe,” Abdul Moneim Al-Mushawah, chairman of Al-Sakeena (serenity) campaign of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.
Saudis in the Daesh terror group are outnumbered by fighters from Morocco, Tunisia, Europe and other countries, he added.
The Saudis are not influential in the Daesh group as they are not leaders or planners.
The number of Saudis in the Daesh group has been deliberately exaggerated so as to smear the image of the country and its people, Al-Mushawah added.
Daesh has lost a large number of its supporters among Saudi citizens. The sources said Daesh used a number of young Saudis in its suicidal operations, Security sources said.