CAIRO – Al-Qaida claimed responsibility Sunday for a suicide attack that injured a Saudi prince and said the bomber — a wanted militant who had fled to Yemen — arrived on a royal jet after convincing the ruling family he wanted to surrender.
Saudi officials have said the prince was lightly wounded in the bombing
at his home in Jiddah Thursday night while he was receiving well-wishers for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"You tyrants ... your bastions and fortifications will not prevent us from reaching you
. We will come to you soon," al-Qaida warned in an Internet statement. The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified, but it was posted on militant Web sites often used by al-Qaida.
In one version of the events, Al-Arabiya, a Saudi-owned television network, said the attacker concealed the explosives in his anus
, allowing him to evade detection. The network also quoted an expert as saying that the method of concealment aimed the blast away from the target, while blowing the bomber to bits.
Prince Nayef said Saturday the attack on his son "will not change the policy of keeping the door open for those who repent," the official Saudi Press Agency reported. At the same time, he warned that future attacks could be more sophisticated, and therefore more dangerous.
Al-Qaida and a Saudi newspaper have said the attacker, who also goes by the alias Abu al-Kheir, was on Saudi's list of 85 wanted militants
, most of them Saudi. Al-Arabiya said Assiri is 23 and has a 27-year-old brother Ibrahim who is also on the wanted list.
The attack was the first attempt against a member of the royal family in decades and was also the first significant attack by militants in the kingdom since 2006. Saudi Arabia has waged a fierce crackdown on al-Qaida militants in the country. It has killed or captured most of their leaders after a string of attacks that started in 2003.
Before Thursday's bombing, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula made several unsuccessful attempts to strike inside the kingdom.