Saudi security sources uncovered Saturday that in a constant attempt to come up with lethal tactics, al-Qaeda was planning to resort to an untraditional weapon that delivers the desired result without explosions or gunfire: perfume.
Al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia plotted to put poison in perfumes, especially Arabian fragrances like agarwood, also called “oud,” to then send the bottles to homes and offices of government officials and religious scholars as gifts, local newspaper Okaz reported Saturday.
"It is not surprising that al-Qaeda can use all tactics and weapons to crush anyone who opposes them especially Islamic scholars," said Turki Abdullah al-Sudairi, editor-in-chief of al-Riyadh newspaper.
"They do not target religious scholars in general, but only those who issue progressive fatwas that reflect the true spirit of Islam like women’s right to work," he told AlArabiya.net.
Sudairi added that security forces in the Gulf region and the entire Arab world are cooperating in order to face the threat of al-Qaeda and that this diligence can be the reason why the group is innovating inits strategies and thinking of new ways of killing.
“They might have resorted to perfumes because other traditional plans are constantly uncovered and aborted.”
Al-Qaeda, Sudairi pointed out, is a critical threat on two levels: the internal and the external.
“On the internal level, al-Qaeda threatens the safety of citizens and the stability of civil life. On the external level, it tarnishes the image of Islam and mars relations with non-Muslim countries.”
The problem of al-Qaeda, he explained, is that they try to give the impression that the ideas they preach are representative of the Islamic religion.
Al-Qaeda cells busted
The Saudi Interior Ministry announced last week the dismantling of 19 al-Qaeda cells that planned to assassinate several officials, journalists, and security officers. The cells included 149 people, 124 Saudis and 25 from other nationalities, mainly Arab, African, and South Asian.
According to the ministry, the militants were also planning to attack government facilities and Saudi oil installations.
The ministry confiscated 2.24 million Saudi riyals ($597,000) and stated that members of the busted cells were trying to collect money through converting Muslims from all nationalities to their extremist ideologies during the busy seasons of Hajj (greater pilgrimage) and Umra (lesser pilgrimage).
Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour Turki said the arrested suspects will be out on trial and might be enrolled in the government’s rehabilitation programs after they finish their sentences and if they show repentance.
The ministry called upon other suspects that are still at large to turn themselves in.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)