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    Jews behind Sept 11: Saudi report
    December 06, 2002

    THE Saudi police minister has claimed Jews were behind last year's September 11 attacks in the US, reports have said.

    Interior Minister Prince Nayef apparently made the remarks in the Arabic-language Kuwaiti daily Assyasah, adding that Jews benefited from subsequent criticism of Islam and Arabs

    The latest edition of Ain al-Yaqeen, a weekly internet magazine devoted to Saudi issues, posted the Assyasah interview and its own English translation.

    "We know that the Jews have manipulated the September 11 incidents and turned American public opinion against Arabs and Muslims," Nayef was quoted as saying in the Arabic text, while Ain al Yaqeen's English version referred to Zionists instead of Jews.

    "We still ask ourselves: Who has benefited from September 11 attacks? I think they (the Jews) were the protagonists of such attacks," Nayef was quoted as saying.

    Nayef's spokesman, Saud al-Musaibeeh, did not respond to repeated requests for confirmation the minister had been quoted accurately.

    The reports attracted attention in the United States just as the Saudis launched a public relations campaign to address accusations the kingdom is soft on terrorism and inculcates extremist thought among its citizens.

    The statements were also widely circulated by a pro-Israel group The Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, which translates articles from the Arabic media.

    Representative Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, said: "The Saudis are telling us that they are an ally in the war on terror while their top government officials are still blaming ... the Jews and denying that 15 Saudis took part in the attacks on New York and the Pentagon."

    He added: "The Bush administration continually defends Saudi Arabia as a friend of the United States and a committed partner in the war on terror.

    "Does this Saudi minister sound like a partner in the war on terror?"

    Senator Charles Schumer, also a New York Democrat, wrote this week in a letter to the Saudi ambassador to the United States that "the interior minister's comments only serve to confirm American suspicions about the Saudi government's commitment to the war on terror".

    Nayef's remarks echoed rumours that have been heard in the Arab world since the attacks - but this time they are attributed to the man in charge of Saudi investigations into the attacks.

    The Saudi minister was quoted in the interview as saying his kingdom was detaining about 100 terror suspects for interrogation. He said the suspects "will either apologise for their mistakes and change their course or will be referred to trial".

    The United States has blamed the September 11 attacks on al-Qaeda terror network, whose chief, Osama bin Laden, was stripped of his Saudi citizenship in 1994. It took Saudi Arabia five months after the attacks to acknowledge that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

    The Gulf kingdom, a close US ally, has never officially held al-Qaeda responsible for the attacks and usually refers to the hijackers as people "enticed and deluded" into committing their crimes.

    In the interview, Nayef said he could not believe that bin Laden and his network, including Saudi participants, worked alone.

    He was quoted as saying he believed terrorist networks have links to "foreign intelligence agencies that work against Arab and Muslim interests, chief among them is the Israeli Mossad".

    The Associated Press

    Arab perfidity.

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