DEBKAfile Exclusive: Saudis send extremist preacher SheikSheik SafarSafar al Hawali to raise funds for Hamas
January 26, 2008, 10:58 PM (GMT+02:00)
Osama bin Laden's friend told by Riyadh to help Hamas
The Saudi SheikSheik SafarSafar al Hawali is an eminent al Qaeda ideological authority and a close personal friend of Osama bin Laden. During US President George W. Bush’s visit to Riyadh earlier this month, the Saudi security authorities placed him under house arrest and forbade him to issue a proclamation condemning the visit. No less than bin Laden himself, Hawali’s name is a byword in Islamic jihadi circles in and beyond SaudiSaudi ArabiaArabia. For them, his canonic works are compulsory reading. This week, Riyadh assigned the radical preacher the mission of launching a fund-raiser on behalf of Hamas in the oil kingdom and Gulf. His son, Abdallah Hawali, was given charge of organizing events.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources add that all al Qaeda’s resources for raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the oil-rich Arab Gulf states are therefore pressed into service to support Hamas and the al Qaeda networks operating in the Gaza Strip and Sinai.
According to our sources, the top Saudi leadership has decided to take advantage of Hamas’ thrust into northern Sinai to shift the brunt of al Qaeda’s activities out of the ArabianArabian PeninsulaPeninsula and Gulf and over to Israel’s borders. This shift has had the effect of deepening ties between the two most violent fundamentalist Sunni terrorist groups, the PalestinianPalestinian HamasHamas and al Qaeda.