Exclusive: ex-wanted Saudi was Qaeda commander, returned from Iran

Wanted Saudi man Osama Ali Abdullah Damjan will be treated in accordance with applicable laws, the statement said. (SPA)

Wanted Saudi man Osama Ali Abdullah Damjan -- who surrendered himself to police in early October—was reportedly a senior al-Qaeda commander who likely fled to Iran.

Damjan left Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan in 2001 before the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States, sources speaking to Alarabiya.net revealed.

The sources claimed that Damjan was admitted to al-Qaeda’s Al Farooq training camp near Kandahar, one of Osama bin Laden's key bases.

Damjan had been training at the camp during bin Laden’s presence. Bin Laden's successor Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al Zarqawi -- the founder of Al-Qaeda in Iraq -- also received training in the same place.

After the United States waged war on al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, Damjan joined the terrorist group’s commanders who fled to Iran.

In 2003, Damjan -- who was also known under the Islamist alias “Abu Jawahir” -- appeared in Iraq fighting along Al Zarqawi, and was later appointed as the emir of the Iraqi city of Qaem.

Conflicting reports on websites affiliated with al-Qaeda reported that Damjan was killed in 2010 in Waziristan, Pakistan.

Other websites said he died inside a prison in the ISIS-stronghold Syrian city of Raqqa, which could reflect that the al-Qaeda commander was not on good terms with ISIS.

However, Damjan was still alive and surrendered himself to police in early October, the Saudi Interior Ministry stated Tuesday.

The ministry said he “had contacted the security authorities in the Kingdom and expressed his wish to return and surrender himself to security authorities,” according to a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency.

Damjan arrived in Saudi Arabia on October 4, 2016.

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Last Update: 18:00 KSA 21:00 - GMT 18:00
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