Bin Salman ordered second assassination attempt against ex-Saudi official: Lawsuit

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former Saudi intelligence official Saad al-Jabri (R) and Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)

A former Saudi intelligence official says the kingdom’s infamous crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), directed agents to embark on the second assassination mission against him after the first one failed two years ago.

In an amended complaint filed in a federal court in Washington DC on Thursday, Saad al-Jabri, who currently resides in Canada, said that he has faced repeated threats on his life over the past few months.

The suit claimed that MBS convened a meeting in May 2020 with key advisors and directed agents to pursue another mission to kill al-Jabri by traveling directly through the US to enter Canada “by land”, almost two years after the first assassination attempt was “thwarted” by airport security.

It comes months after al-Jabri first sued the Saudi crown prince for sending a 50-man hit squad comprised of best-skilled killers in the kingdom to Canada to assassinate him.

According to the court filing, the assassination attempt by the hit squad, dubbed the “Tiger Squad”, took place 13 days after members of the Tiger Squad were involved in the high-profile killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. The plan failed after the Saudi agents were not able to get past Canadian border patrol.

“If the allegations in this Complaint seem fantastical, that is only because it is difficult to fathom the depths of depravity of Defendant bin Salman and the men he empowered to carry out his will,” the complaint said.

“But make no mistake: the attempt to kill Dr. Saad, just like the completed killing of Jamal Khashoggi days before, was not a one-off incident, but rather the way Defendant bin Salman regularly operated in the years leading up to the fateful events of 2018.”

MBS tried to lure al-Jabri’s daughter into Saudi consulate

Since June 2017, two of al-Jabri’s children, Sarah and Omar, have been prohibited from leaving Saudi Arabia, raising concerns around the world that they are being used to secure al-Jabri’s return.

Not content with only two of his children under his control, the amended filing alleged, bin Salman tried to lure al-Jabri’s daughter, Hissah al-Muzaini, to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul just days before the brutal murder of Khashoggi there.

The complaint added that a close aide to MBS pressured Hissah’s husband, Salem Almuzaini, to convince Hissah to enter the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to renew her passport even if she had no intention of returning to the kingdom. It was only after Khashoggi’s murder that they learned the fate awaiting her had she entered the consulate.

Al-Jabri used to work closely under former Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, who was ousted and detained in 2017, when bin Salman replaced him. Al-Jabri fled the kingdom afterward and entered Canada in 2018. The new suit said al-Jabri is viewed as an “urgent threat” to MBS’s standing within the US.

Last month, al-Jabri faced legal retribution by the crown prince, when a number of Saudi state-owned companies sued him in the Ontario Superior Court, claiming that he orchestrated a money-laundering scheme and stole upwards of $3.5bn from Saudi Arabia.

In response, al-Jabri denied the charges. He “welcomes the opportunity to face off against MBS in neutral judicial forums,” a campaign for the al-Jabri family said, according to the Middle East Eye.

Al- Jabri’s knowledge of damning information about Riyadh’s secrets and his “deep connection to the US Government, is exactly why Defendant bin Salman wants him dead,” the new lawsuit said. “And Defendant bin Salman was prepared to reach inside the United States to make that happen.”

Biden administration ready to release Khashoggi file

Meanwhile, the new US administration of Joe Biden has strongly criticized Saudi Arabia for its human rights violations, including Khashoggi’s murder, saying it will release the CIA’s classified report into the murder.

At a press conference on Friday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the administration is prepared to release a report detailing its understanding of who is responsible for the brutal murder.

“This is the law and we will follow the law,” Psaki said. “We, of course, expect Saudi Arabia to improve its record on human rights. That includes releasing political prisoners, such as women’s rights advocates from Saudi jails.”

She called Khashoggi’s death a “horrific crime,” while side-stepping a question on whether the administration would slap sanctions on the kingdom for the murder.

The CIA has reportedly concluded that bin Salman ordered the killing, based on the crown prince’s control of Saudi Arabia, which is such that the killing would not have taken place without his approval.

It made the assessment soon after the Khashoggi murder, American officials said at the time, citing intercepts of the crown prince’s calls in the days before the killing, and calls by the kill team to a senior aide to the crown prince.

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