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Subordinate to Ben Salman, pursuing regime opponents: "Tiger team" responsible for Hashukaji's assassination - Walla! news

2021-03-02T17:28:21.139Z

The rapid intervention force, which obeys only the heir to the throne, was mentioned in such an American intelligence report as being responsible for the elimination of journalism and the forced return of exiles to the kingdom. He is also accused of torturing women's rights activists. Washington has imposed sanctions on him, calling for its dissolution



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Subordinate to Ben Salman, chasing regime opponents: "Tiger team" responsible for Hashukaji's assassination

The rapid intervention force, which obeys only the heir to the throne, was mentioned in such an American intelligence report as being responsible for the elimination of journalism and the forced return of exiles to the kingdom.

He is also accused of torturing women's rights activists.

Washington has imposed sanctions on him, calling for its dissolution

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  • Muhammad bin Salman

  • Jamal Hashukaji

  • Saudi Arabia

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Tuesday, 02 March 2021, 19:21

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In the video: Biden refers to the intelligence report on the murder of Jamal Hashukaji (Photo: Reuters)

Seven senior Saudi officials involved in the assassination of journalist Jamal Hashukaji belong to an elite unit whose job is to protect Regent Muhammad bin Salman.

The unit, named the Rapid Intervention Force, has been linked by U.S. intelligence to violent persecution of regime opponents inside and outside the kingdom.

On Friday, Washington imposed sanctions on it, following the revelation of the intelligence report on the regent's involvement in Hashukaji's assassination, and she calls on Riyadh to dismantle it.



The unit, also known as the "Tiger Team," responds directly to the young prince, and U.S. intelligence's conclusions were based on the fact that it would not have operated without his approval.

"It exists to protect the regent," the report said.

The unit apparently began operating in 2017, the year Ben Salman ousted his cousin as heir apparent.



Its most notable action was the one that took place at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, but US officials believe it has carried out dozens of operations, including the forced return of Saudi regime opponents from Arab countries.

More on Walla!

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No action of force is taken without his approval.

Ben Salman (Photo: AP, AP)

The rapid intervention force was apparently also involved in the arrests of prominent women's rights activists, who according to their testimonies were tortured.

One of them, Lujin al-Hadlul, was imprisoned in 2018 and released only recently.

According to American sources, one woman arrested by the group, a university lecturer, attempted suicide in 2018 after undergoing psychological torture.

Some of the detainees were temporarily held in a magnificent palace belonging to Ben Salman and his father the King.



According to the New York Times, the unit was so busy that in June 2018, its field commander asked an adviser to Ben Salman if the Rapid Intervention Force could receive bonuses in honor of Eid al-Fitr.

Demonstration outside the Saudi Embassy in London following Hashukaji's assassination, October 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

The person in charge of the special force was Saud al-Qahtani, a senior adviser to Ben Salman who was in charge of the palace's communications.

He oversaw the "troll farms," ​​which operated bots that spoke in favor of the regent with the aim of weakening the critical voices against him.

In 2018 he said he "does not make decisions without the regent's approval".



According to U.S. intelligence, the force's field commander was quickly 'Abd al-'Aziz Motrab, an intelligence officer who often accompanied the regent overseas.

Another activist on the team, Der Ralb al-Harbi, was part of the Saudi Royal Guard in 2017 earlier after an attack on one of Ben Salman's palaces.



All three were mentioned in a U.S. intelligence report released Friday as part of a group of 21 people who "participated, ordered or were otherwise involved in responsibility for the death of Jamal Hashukaji" on behalf of the regent.

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Source: walla

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