Hamas claims Saudi Arabia arrested its former liaison to Riyadh

Terror group contends interlocutors have not succeeded in securing Mohammed al-Khoudari’s release yet; it asserts Gulf kingdom also arrested several other Palestinians

Adam Rasgon is a former Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar in Gaza City, June 26, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)
Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar in Gaza City, June 26, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

The Hamas terror group said Monday that Saudi Arabia earlier this year arrested a Palestinian man who used to manage its relations with Riyadh.

Hamas claimed in a statement that Saudi Arabia, “in a strange and unacceptable move,” collared 81-year-old Mohammed al-Khoudari, who it noted has also held high-ranking leadership positions in the terror group, on April 4.

Hamas, which has vowed to destroy Israel, has seldom made public criticisms explicitly directed at Saudi Arabia.

The terror group also contended that Khoudari, who it said has lived in Jedda for three decades, was suffering from an incurable illness and said Riyadh also nabbed his son Hani “without justification,” along with other Palestinians based in the Gulf kingdom.

Hamas’s statement did not state whether Hani or the other Palestinians it said were arrested belong to its ranks.

Saudi Arabian city view with the Kingdom Tower, background, and ‘Al-Faislia Tower’ in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

“Hamas has kept silent for over five months to allow for interlocutors to undertake efforts [to release the Palestinians], but they have not led to any results as of yet,” the terror group said.

“Therefore, the movement found itself compelled to issue an announcement, demanding the Saudi authorities release Khoudari, his son and all other Palestinian detainees,” it added.

Hamas is backed by Iran, which Saudi officials, similar to the Israeli government, consider a regional foe.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a war against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

In 2017, then-Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in France that Qatar should stop supporting Hamas, which later slammed his remark.

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