Activist forced into hiding after threat from Saudi regime

ANOTHER of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s critics is being targeted for assassination, warns the CIA – forcing him into hiding in his adopted home country Norway

  • Iyad El-Baghdadi whisked away to secret location after threat received from CIA
  • The prominent critic of the Saudi regime has had asylum in Norway since 2015 
  • Norwegian  authorities received ‘credible and specific information’ of a threat 
  • Two squads of security forces came to his house and warned him of the danger 

A prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been forced into hiding in Norway, because the CIA warned he has been targeted for assassination by mystery figures in Saudi Arabia.

It comes months after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated and dismembered by Bin Salman’s security operatives in the country’s embassy in Istanbul. 

That assassination last October prompted global outrage, forcing Riyadh to purge the agents responsible and climb-down from its stance targeting critics of the regime. 

However the kingdom faced fresh outrage last month when it executed 37 alleged terrorists and put their bodies on public display. 

Now Iyad El-Baghdadi has been forced into hiding in Norway – where he has lived under asylum since 2015 – after the warning from the CIA.  

Norwegian security forces came the house of El-Baghdadi and warned the vocal critic of Bin Salman he faces an unspecific threat from elements inside the kingdom, according to the Guardian. 

Iyad El-Baghdadi was reportedly taken to a secret location after the Norwegian authorities received details of a threat emanating from elements within the Saudi regime 

El-Baghdadi has been a vocal critic of the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

El-Baghdadi tweeted about the threat he received two weeks ago and reassured his social media followers 

He was reportedly taken to a secure location after two squads visited him on April 25 to make sure they were not followed to the new hideout.

El-Baghdadi tweeted today: ‘Something crazy – concerning my personal safety – happened two weeks ago which I haven’t been at liberty to speak about, but is breaking today. The last two weeks have been very stressful, but I hope I’ve managed well given the pressure.’

He added in response to concern for his safety: ‘This seems to be a long-term problem. If they don’t want to kill me, then I’m not doing my job.’

El-Baghdadi has become a high-profile critic of the Saudi regime, often tweeting jokes and sarcastic references about the de facto leader of the kingdom.

The writer’s remarks about the Saudi crown prince has included a warning that a lack of action from the West over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would embolden the regime. 

He said Saudi Arabia would move from kidnappings to assassinations if their crackdown on activists remained unchecked. 

Iyad El-Baghdadi was whisked away by Norwegian security services after they received a warning from the CIA

Saudi journalist and regime critic Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered after visiting the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last October 

Saudi government’s links to death of Jamal Khashoggi 

The Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year. 

Before his death he was critical of the kingdom’s policies and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on activists.

He was in self-imposed exile in the U.S. and only went to the consulate to pick up divorce papers so he could finalize his marriage to his Turkish fiancee.

Turkish officials said a 15-men team tortured, killed and dismembered the writer, while Saudi Arabian officials claimed he died in a ‘fistfight’.

Leaked surveillance footage showed Khashoggi and the alleged Saudi squad that killed him entering the consulate.

A body double with beard and glasses was also seen leaving the building and boarding a plane for Riyadh.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Saudi activists, including a number of women have been tortured and sexually harassed in jail since their incarceration last May.

US intelligence agencies are legally obliged to warn anyone if ‘credible and specific information’ relating to a impending threat of intentional killing, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping’ is discovered.

El-Baghdadi said the Norwegian authorities were taking the threat ‘very seriously’. 

He told the Guardian: ‘The way I understood it was, the Saudis have a crosshairs on me, but there is no idea of what they are going to do.  

‘They assured me that they are taking it very seriously. They came prepared.’

Last month Ryanair has been forced to apologize to El-Baghdadi after refusing to let him board a flight to Ireland.  

A UAE ‘spy’ held by Turkey on suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates committed suicide by hanging himself in prison last month.

He reportedly investigated over possible links to Saudi murder of Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by a 15-strong hit squad.

The children of the murdered journalist reportedly received multimillion-dollar homes and were being paid thousands of dollars a month in ‘blood money’ by Saudi Arabia.

His four children – two sons and two daughters – have each been given houses in Jeddah worth up to $4million each, it has been claimed last month.

They are also being given payments of at least $10,000 per month with an additional payment totaling tens of millions of dollars each to be made once the trial of Khashoggi’s alleged killers is completed.

Saudi prosecutors claim deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri oversaw the columnist’s killing in the Istanbul consulate, along with 11 other suspects facing a trial behind closed doors.

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