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$1 million for the catch - Saudi royal boosts bounty on Israeli soldier

Published time: October 30, 2011 16:39
Edited time: October 30, 2011 20:39
AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana

AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana

A member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family is offering Riyadh’s riches to anyone who captures an Israeli soldier for use as a bargaining chip in a future Palestinian prisoner swap.

­Prince Khaled bin Talal announced the offer to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Dalil television network.

Bin Talal, the brother of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, promised to hand $900,000 to anyone who captures an Israeli soldier. The declaration comes on top of a similar pledge of $100,000 made earlier on Facebook by prominent Saudi cleric Sheik Awadh al-Qarani.

Talal’s move is viewed by some as a response to multiple threats received by al-Qarani after he made his pledge.

Facebook blocked al-Qarani’s page (despite more than 1,000 likes), while calls have been heard in Israel for a price to be put on the cleric’s head.

“I tell Dr. Awad al-Qarni, I will be in solidarity with you and pay the remaining $900,000 to take an Israeli soldier prisoner so that other prisoners can be freed,” Talal declared.

The latest Arab offers come just weeks after an agreement was reached to exchange Hamas-held Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.

The first 477 of them have already been released. Another 550 are to be freed in the next two months.

According to Palestinian estimates, there are still thousands of prisoners held by Israel.

Israelis are not alien to bounty-offering either. According to Al-Qarani, his move was inspired by the Libman family offering a similar reward for the capture of the murderer of their relative Shlomo Libman in 1998.

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