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UK newspaper apologizes over Saudi envoy article

The article said Iraq attempted to expel the ambassador over claims he refused to condemn a cousin who died fighting for ISIS

Published: Updated:

UK newspaper, The Independent, has tendered a public apology to Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Iraq, Thamer al-Sabhan, for an article that alleged that his cousin, Abdel Salaam, died fighting for ISIS.

The article, which appeared on September 7, said Iraq attempted to expel its first Saudi Arabian ambassador in a quarter of a century over claims he refused to condemn a cousin who died fighting for ISIS.

The apology, released by the newspaper, says: “An article of 7 September reported allegations that Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Iraq, Thamar Alsabhan, had been expelled by the Iraqi government because he had failed to denounce a cousin who had died fighting for Isis.”

It further says: “The Independent now understands that the person identified as a cousin of the ambassador is unrelated and unknown to him. Indeed, no member of the ambassador's family has ever fought with Isis or any other extremist organisation.”

Ambassador Thamer al-Sabhan had responded to the initial report by issuing a letter.

“We apologise to Mr Alsabhan and regret any distress caused by the publication of the article and have agreed to make a donation to the UN Counter-Terrorism Center on his behalf. We are glad to have this opportunity to correct the record,” the newspaper said.

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