Skip to comments.Many Saudi teens being recruited in terror plots
Posted on 06/23/2003 12:30:56 AM PDT by sarcasm
IDDAH, Saudi Arabia Saudi security forces unraveling an alleged plot to attack the holiest city in the Islamic world say many of the suspects were teenagers one as young as 15.
The suspected Mecca plot uncovered this month, coupled with May 12 suicide bombings in Riyadh that killed 35 people, kick-started Saudi efforts to crack down on militant groups here.
The resulting investigations show that terror groups appear to have been fishing for recruits among the vast pool of young men in the Saudi kingdom, where more than half the population of about 20 million is under 18.
An Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that some recruits were high-school students and that the average age of al-Qaida suspects in the Riyadh attacks and Mecca plot was 20.
Of 12 suspected al-Qaida militants arrested last week in the Mecca plot, six were under 18, the official said. The raid on a bomb-filled, booby-trapped apartment in Mecca left five suspects and two police officers dead.
"Osama bin Laden has said publicly in interviews that he is targeting people in the 15 to 25 age range," said Abdul-Rahman al-Motawa, who recently published a book on Saudis detained at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. "They are the most valuable and the most malleable of the organization's foot soldiers."
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