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Al-Qaeda urges Saudis to topple ruling dynasty

Published time: May 18, 2012 01:59
Edited time: May 18, 2012 07:01
This image provided by SITE Intelligence Group shows Ayman al-Zawahiri as he gives a eulogy for fellow al-Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden in a video released on jihadist forums on June 8, 2011 (AFP Photo/HO/site Intelligence group)

This image provided by SITE Intelligence Group shows Ayman al-Zawahiri as he gives a eulogy for fellow al-Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden in a video released on jihadist forums on June 8, 2011 (AFP Photo/HO/site Intelligence group)

The chief of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network has called on the Saudi people to start an uprising against the ruling Al-Saud family following the ouster of four Arab rulers in the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, who assumed leadership of the terror group after the killing of Osama Bin Laden last year, addressed the Saudis in a video posted on an Islamist website asking them "Why don't you follow the example of your brothers in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and the Levant?"

The video starts with footage showing Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah meeting Pope Benedict XVI, former US President George W. Bush and current US President Barack Obama, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terrorist activity.

"Muslim brothers in the land of the holy mosques! A year has passed since the uprising of the Arab people against their rulers…my dear brothers, why do you still accept to be ruled by the Al-Saud family. They are one of the worst corrupt governments who steal your money," he said.

The ultra-conservative Sunni kingdom has seen few protests while the most of the region was swept by Arab Spring uprisings. This is partly thanks to a big public spending package announced by the government early last year, Reuters says.

However, there have been demonstrations in the east of the country, mostly led by the Shiite minority, who call for political reform and the release of political prisoners.

The authorities have been brutal in quelling any acts of dissent. Activists say that security forces have arrested and released around 500 people during the protests, some 80 of whom still remain behind bars.

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