A former top Saudi intelligence official has alleged the kingdom’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman dispatched an assassination team to Canadian soil to kill him.
Dr. Saad Aljabri, 61, made the claim in a lawsuit filed against bin Salman and other Saudi officials in Washington D.C. earlier this week. The legal documents ays the assassination team were sent only days after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi journalist who was a columnist with the Washington Post, was strangled and then dismembered in a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey in October 2018. It’s widely believed that the mission to kill Khashoggi was personally ordered by bin Salman.
The complaint says Aljabri is a “longtime trusted partner of senior U.S. intelligence officials” who is “ uniquely positioned to existentially threaten Defendant bin Salman’s standing with the U.S. government.” Aljabri held a senior intelligence role under the kingdom’s former crown prince. It states Aljabri is aware of bin Salman’s corruption, political schemings, and how the crown prince created the “Tiger Squad,” a team of mercenaries and the very team he alleges was sent after him.
“That is why Defendant bin Salman wants him dead—and why Defendant bin Salman has worked to achieve that objective over the last three years,” reads the documents.
The entire lawsuit can be read at this link.
On October 15, 2018—less than two weeks after the killing of Khashoggi—Aljabri alleges the Tiger Squad was dispatched to Canada, where he has been living in exile since 2017.
“Carrying two bags of forensic tools, and complete with forensic personnel experienced with the clean-up of crime scenes—including an instructor in the exact same criminal evidence department as the forensic specialist who dismembered Khashoggi with a bone saw—the Tiger Squad Defendants attempted to enter Canada covertly, travelling on tourist visas and seeking to avert the detection of Canadian border security by entering through separate kiosks,” reads the complaint.
The Tiger Squad were thwarted by Canadian border security after telling a border official they were strangers shortly before the official found a photo of them together, reads the complaint. The documents do not specify which airport this is alleged to have occurred in but the Globe and Mail has reported it was Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.
“Following the failure of the October 2018 Tiger Squad plot in Canada, upon information and belief, Defendant bin Salman now plans to send agents directly through the United States to enter Canada by land and, once and for all eliminate Dr. Saad,” reads the complaint.
The complaint allegesSaudi clerics granted bin Salman a fatwa—a religious legal decree—endorsing the murder of Aljabri.
Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, told VICE News that while he “cannot comment on specific allegations currently before the courts,” he is “aware of incidents in which foreign actors have attempted to monitor, intimidate or threaten Canadians and those living in Canada.”
“It is completely unacceptable and we will never tolerate foreign actors threatening Canada’s national security or the safety of our citizens and residents,” said Blair. “Canadians can be confident that our security agencies have the skills and resources necessary to detect, investigate and respond to such threats. We will always take the necessary action to keep Canadians and those on Canadian soil safe and we invite people to report any such threats to law enforcement authorities.”
Blair condemned the killing of Khashoggi in his statement.
“Those responsible must be held to account and that is why we have sanctioned 17 Saudi nationals linked to this murder. We continue to call for a credible and independent international investigation.”
Earlier in the year, Canada lifted its partial freeze on military exports to Saudi Arabia it initially implemented following Khashoggi’s killing.
The complaint also says that Saudi officials seized two of Aljabri’s children and “disappeared them” in a bid to get him to return to the kingdom. The legal filings also include photos of WhatsApp conversations that are alleged to be between Aljabri and bin Salman where the crown prince threatens the former intelligence official and demands he returns home to Saudi Arabia in “24 hours!” Speaking to the Globe and Mail, Aljabri’s son said the family decided to file the complaint when it felt like they had run out of options to have their family members returned to them.
The lawsuit does not explain how Aljabri knows about the Canadian exploits of the Tiger Squad. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
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