Saudi Arabia cracks down on women 'terror' recruits

Saudi Arabia cracks down on women 'terror' recruits
2 min read
30 December, 2015
Some 23 women recruited to the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda over the past two years are on trial or recently jailed.
Saudi police have arrested a number of extremists over the past decade [AFP]
Saudi Arabia is clamping down on women recruits to the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda, according to recent local news reports.

Some 23 Saudi women have been jailed in the past two years or are currently on trial for having links to the two extremist groups, Riyadh's's al-Arabiya and Saudi Gazette reported on Monday.

One of those is 27-year-old Um Oweis, who allegedly swore allegiance to IS leader and self-appointed "caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and provided "logistical support" to the group.

It's alleged that she was in contact with members of rival jihadi groups IS and al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate.

Another woman was reportedly known as "Lady al-Qaeda" and jailed for 15 years by a Saudi court.

Riyadh's Special Criminal Court also opened a case against a Saudi woman named al-Mohajira, al-Arabiya reported.

She was allegedly a "media member" of rival Syrian extremist groups IS and al-Nusra Front, and was charged with inciting murder and killing in "conflict zones", as well as in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia - and particularly its foreign residents - have been targeted by al-Qaeda and IS militants over the past two decades.

In 2003, around 39 people were killed when al-Qaeda militants detonated three bombs in expatriate compounds in Saudi Arabia.

The country's Shia community have been a particular target of IS this year, with a number of mosques hit by suicide bombers - leaving dozens dead.

Former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and IS chief Baghdadi have also taken aim at Saudi Arabia's royal family in audio messages.

Hundreds of Saudis have joined the ranks of IS and al-Qaeda, while other citizens have been accused of financing the group.

However, a recent poll by the Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies showed that the vast majority of Saudis reject the extremist groups' ideology.