Saudi arrests two women trying to join al-Qaeda in Yemen

Two Yemeni smugglers who accompanied the women and children were also arrested.

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Two Saudi women were arrested while trying to smuggle six children, including four of their own, across the southern border to join al-Qaeda in Yemen, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Wednesday.

Two Yemeni smugglers who accompanied the women and children were also arrested, as the group attempted to cross into Yemen from Jazan, in the southwest corner of Saudi Arabia.

The two women had reportedly collected sums of money, as well as quantities of gold and silver in the central region of al-Qassim, before taking the six children.

Al-Watan newspaper, quoting sources, reported Wednesday that the six children were all related.

On Twitter, a man alleging to be the uncle of one the children, expressed shock when learning of the incident.

“I had the shock of my life when I got a phone call informing me that my nephew had been found with other children and two women as they were being smuggled out of the kingdom to join the ranks of Al Qaeda,” Abu Saleh, the uncle, said in a number of tweets Monday, under the account name @abosalah1388.

Further, Riyadh journalist Mohammad al-Zayyad told Al Arabiya Wednesday this was not the first time al-Qaeda had tried to recruit Saudi women.

“Over the last couple of years, al-Qaeda has tried to exploit women, whether in the countries that it targets, like Saudi Arabia,and take advantage of women and children, and also blackmail states in order to put pressure on them, or for money to fund the organization,” he said.

“[They might] also use the women for logistical reasons, since the countries they enter, like Yemen or Syria, where they join groups such as the Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syriam,” he added.

Referring to the arrests of the two women, Al-Zayyad said the husband of one of the women was an ISIS fighter in Syria, while the husband of the other woman was in prison for terrorism-related offenses.

“The women were active in supporting Al-Qaeda, as well as inciting or attempting to create sympathy with the organization,” he said.

A private plane carrying relatives of the women and the children, as well as religious scholars and human rights activists, was dispatched by the interior minister to Jazan to reason with them, according to officials.

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