The Commander of the Khobar Terrorists Tells the Story of his Murders.
The 18th issue of the Al-Qa'ida-identified journal 'Sawt Al-Jihad' included an interview with Fawwaz bin Muhammad Al-Nashami, commander of the Al-Quds Brigade that took responsibility for the May 29 attack at Khobar, Saudi Arabia, in which 22 people were killed. The following are excerpts from the interview:
Sawt Al-Jihad: "Praise be to Allah ... and gratitude be to Him ... and prayer and peace upon him [the Prophet] who, when asked, 'What on the part of man makes the Lord happy?' answered, 'That he [the believer] should engage in face-to-face combat with the enemy while unarmored.'
"With us today is the commander of the Al-Quds Brigade, which carried out the unique qualitative operation in the eastern Arabian Peninsula [i.e. Saudi Arabia], so we can learn details about the operation and what took place during it. First, we want to welcome our brother, and ask him to review for us some of the preparations for this operation."
Al-Nashami: "By the name of Allah, and prayer and peace be upon the Prophet: May Allah bless you. At the battle of Khobar there was no choice but to carry out suicide operations. The brothers, may Allah preserve those who remain alive and receive those who were killed. All took into account that none would return, and that they would fight until they were killed and [thus] realize the idea of plunging themselves into the midst of the enemy. [They thought this] because of the strength of the targets and the tight security around them.
"In effect, the entire place was like [foreign] colonies, as if you were in a Western country, such that you can hardly walk 200 meters before encountering heavy firearms, Hummers, search points, arms, and armed troops.
"Allah be thanked, the brothers met and prepared the plan several days before [the operation]. After dawn prayers, they sat for the final review of the plan. While they were doing this, our brother Abu Hajar [the Al-Qa'ida commander in the Arabian Peninsula Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Muqrin] appointed me commander of the group. I was not qualified for this, but it was a trial from Allah. We met with the brothers and I explained to them the goals and plan of the operation, and I showed them the targets, and we reconnoitered, in addition to a previous reconnaissance, and we learned by heart the paths leading to the sites.
"On the day of the operation, we divided the final tasks. I was the driver of the car; our brother Nimr Al-Baqmi [who was killed in the operation], whom we ask Allah to receive, rode next to me; our brother Hussein was in the back, and our fourth brother Nader was behind Nimr. The car was a Maxima.
"On the night of the operation I booby-trapped the car, and put explosives in it, because the third site, a residential compound, was the most fortified place in all of the eastern zone. The distance between it and the palace of [Prince Turki bin] Muhammad bin Fahd was only 500 meters, and it is known that this is the center of the greatest licentiousness and prostitution. [This area] is very big, and full of villas. This compound is named after [Abd Al-'Aziz] Al-Sani' [but] the truth is that it belongs to Muhammad bin Fahd and this is only a cover.
"Our plan was that when we finish with the first two places, that is, the two oil companies, we will go to the residential compound where the emergency forces will have gathered, and our decision was that I should go in [in the car] and blow up the car amongst them, so as to open the way for the brothers."
Sawt Al-Jihad: "How far was it between those two compounds?"
Al-Nashami: "The compounds were like I had never seen in my life. They are in the Golden Belt area, which is the most luxurious and wealthy area in the eastern district, and it is full of mansions, such that the Emir [of the] eastern [region] lives there. We even saw Marines in uniform going out from these compounds. The compound is some three kilometers by three kilometers, and has a number of gates, that is, it is an enormous expanse."
Sawt Al-Jihad: "And what about the companies?"
Al-Nashami: "The first company was the Arab Oil Investment Company. This is a company belonging to the American company Halliburton. It is involved in Iraq. It is called The Arab Oil Investment Company, but in effect this company is made up of a number of very large global oil companies."
Sawt Al-Jihad: "How did you begin [the operation]?"
Al-Nashami: "We left the apartment at precisely a quarter to six. We drew near the site, and we changed our clothes and belted on the ammunition pouches and weapons. We asked Allah to help us, and make things go easily for us.
"The company [compound] had two gates, and we went to the first. Our brother Nimr and the other brothers went and ordered the guard to open the gate. There was a man behind the gate and the fence. Two security personnel were outside the gate, and one was inside, and he was the one who could open [the gate]. [So] the brothers told him: 'Open the gate!' but he refused. The brothers wanted to break in, but he hid behind the counter.
"We were in a hurry, because we had to finish with this company, and go on to the other [company]. [So] we turned to the second main gate, broke through it, and finished dealing with the guards that were there.
"As soon as we entered, we encountered the car of a Briton, the investment director of the company, whom Allah had sent to his death. He is the one whose mobile phone on the seat of his car, with the blood on it, they kept showing [on television]. We left him in the street.
"We went out, and drove our car. We had tied the infidel by one leg [behind the car]. We left the company [compound] and met the patrols. The first to arrive was the jeep of a patrol, with one soldier, and we killed him. With the rest we exchanged fire, and we got through.
"Allah be thanked, we had learned more than one route to the second site. When the patrols blocked the way, [we] had no chance of returning by the same route, so we went another way - via the coast, and then via Khobar, that is, the Damam highway - a distance of four kilometers.
"The infidel's clothing was torn to shreds, and he was naked in the street. The street was full of people, as this was during work hours, and everyone watched the infidel being dragged, praise and gratitude be to Allah.
"When we arrived at one of the bridges, we encountered an ambush of jeeps of the Tawaghit (This word is a Koranic expression that signifies idolatry and devil worship, and is used by modern Islamists for the oppressive rulers who, while nominally Muslim, have betrayed the true Islam.) dogs [i.e. Saudi government troops] and the guards of the Americans, and we exchanged fire with them. When we crossed the bridge, the rope [by which the Briton was tied] snapped and the body of the infidel fell in the middle of the intersection, between the four stop signs, and everyone who was stopped at the stop signs saw the infidel on the day that he fell from the top of the bridge.
"The brothers had exchanged fire with the patrols, all the while shouting, 'Allah Akbar,' and 'There is no God but Allah.'"
"Allah be thanked, we overran this ambush, and continued on our way to the second company, the Petroleum Center, which is also a compound with a number of companies. We arrived at the gate and got out of the car. Allah be thanked, the brothers were wonderfully calm and serene, as if they were on a hike.
"We entered and found youths from the Arabian Peninsula [i.e. Saudi Arabia] wearing the Aramco uniform. They asked, 'What is going on?' We told them, 'Calm down, don't be afraid, we don't want you. We want only the Americans.'
"The four of us entered the company together. We met the Arab clerks, and greeted them. We asked them: 'Where are the Americans?' They were all in shock, and said: 'What's going on? Who are you?' We told them, 'We are Mujahideen, and we want the Americans. We have not come to aim a weapon at the Muslims, but to purge the Arabian Peninsula, according to the will of our Prophet Muhammad, of the infidels and the polytheists who are killing our brothers in Afghanistan and Iraq. We want you to show us where they are.'
"We turned to go upstairs. The building included a number of companies, and there were a number of doors. Each time we opened a door, we found a large hall, and in it several offices and a head office with a glass window.
"We entered one of the companies' [offices], and found there an American infidel who looked like a director of one of the companies. I went into his office and called him. When he turned to me, I shot him in the head, and his head exploded. We entered another office and found one infidel from South Africa, and our brother Hussein slit his throat. We asked Allah to accept [these acts of devotion] from us, and from him. This was the South African infidel.
"We went out from the company [offices] and found our brother, Nimr the hero, standing at the entrance to the company and guarding us, drinking a little water as though he were on a hike. [He acted this way] because of his great courage - may Allah have mercy on him.
"We left [the company] and drove in our car. We encountered forces that hastened to defend the Americans; perhaps some of them [were] from the Marines. We exchanged fire with them, which was our third engagement with them. Their great cowardice was evidenced by their behavior: They were very far away, and as we approached them they kept withdrawing and distancing themselves."
"We turned to the third site, which was the most fortified center of all the compounds. Our plan was to remain in the car until we were alongside the American Hummer. When we were next to it, the brothers appeared from the windows [of the car] and began shouting 'Allah Akbar,' and shooting them. And I saw the skull of the soldier standing behind the machine gun explode before my eyes. Allah be praised. I think the driver was also killed.
"It was our [original] plan to enter through the exit gate, and immediately upon entering I would blow up the car amongst them [the guards], while the brothers will go on to charge [into the compound].
"As soon as we arrived, we passed the Hummers and exchanged fire with them. At one of the gates, Allah brought to us a security guard, whom we had seen in the street. We ordered him to open the gate and thus we did not need to blow up the car.
"Brother Nimr swaggered around inside the compound. Then we drove on the main road inside the compound. The compound is very big indeed, and its area spreads out over a number of kilometers, and in it there are a number of compounds.
"We went to one of the buildings. Brother Nimr, may Allah's mercy be upon him, shoved the door until it opened. We entered and in front of us stood many people. We asked them their religion, and for identification documents. We used this time for Da'wa [preaching Islam], and for enlightening the people about our goal. We spoke with many of them.
"At the same time, we found a Swedish infidel. Brother Nimr cut off his head, and put it at the gate [of the building] so that it would be seen by all those entering and exiting.
"We continued in the search for the infidels, and we slit the throats of those we found among them. At the same time, we heard the sound of the patrols and the gathering [of the security personnel] outside. These cowards did not dare to enter. About 45 minutes or an hour had passed since the beginning of the operation.
"We began to comb the site looking for infidels. We found Filipino Christians. We cut their throats and dedicated them to our brothers the Mujahideen in the Philippines. [Likewise], we found Hindu engineers and we cut their throats too, Allah be praised. That same day, we purged Muhammad's land of many Christians and polytheists.
"Afterwards, we turned to the hotel. We entered and found a restaurant, where we ate breakfast and rested a while. Then we went up to the next floor, found several Hindu dogs, and cut their throats. I told the brothers to leave them on the stairs so the troops of the Taghut would see them when they burst in, and be terror-stricken. But it seems I thought too well of these cowards, because they did not enter [the hotel] until after we had left.
"We utilized the time for [teaching] the Koran to the Muslims who remained. We taught them how to read [Surat] Al-Fatiha properly. They were amazed by us, [and said], 'How are you able to do this in such an inflamed atmosphere?' Thanks be to Allah for enabling us to do so.
"The Indian Muslims told us that their manager was a vile Hindu who did not permit them to pray, and that he would arrive shortly. When [the manager] arrived, we verified his religion by means of his identifying documents, and we kept him with us for a short time.
"Then I phoned Al-Jazeera television, and they conducted an interview with us, that they did not release. I told them I was speaking with them from the compound, and that only the infidels were our targets.
"Then I went to one of the rooms, I watched the news on television, and I saw the news about the event on the screen. About five hours had passed since the beginning of the operation, and the news that was released was that the emergency forces 'were now breaking into the compound.' I split up the brothers to certain positions in the hotel, and we got ready to repel an attack by the dogs of the state if they broke in on us.
"At two o'clock, they broke in, headed by an officer. We saw them from our positions, and threw bombs at them. The officer was killed, Allah be thanked, and his soldiers were wounded. The soldiers screamed to their brothers in the rear: 'We want to leave, by Allah, take us out, get us out!' We were shouting, 'Allah Akbar' and 'Allah is our God. You have no god. Go to Hell and evil is your fate!'
"Nimr, may Allah have mercy upon him, told one of them: 'Come nearer, oh coward, come here!' But he fled from him.
"They began heavy arms fire on the hotel and continued until the afternoon hours. At the same time, we slaughtered the vile Hindu who had prevented his employees from praying. We brought the Muslims up to the top floors so that the shooting and shelling of the emergency forces would not harm them. We remained downstairs, and we waited for these cowards.
"At the same time, brother Hussein was on the stairs and noticed an Italian infidel. He aimed his gun at him and told him to come closer. The infidel came closer. We saw his identifying documents and decided that he should call Al-Jazeera and talk to his people and send them a warning about the war of Islam and its people, and that afterwards we would cut his throat and dedicate him to the Italians who were fighting our brothers in Iraq and to the idiotic Italian president who wants to confront the lions of Islam.
"We called Al-Jazeera and I told the broadcaster to speak with him [i.e. the Italian]. The broadcaster asked me, 'Does he speak English?' I told the broadcaster, 'Do you have Italian translators?' He said, 'Yes,' and I said, 'Let him speak in his own language.'
"He [the Italian] spoke for several minutes. I asked the broadcaster, 'Did you record that?' He said, 'Yes,' and then the hero Nimr cut his throat."
(Al-Jazeera channel announced that it had received a phone call from an unknown individual claiming that he was speaking from where the hostages were being kept, and that he had one hostage with him. Al-Jazeera said that it had refused to deal with this matter because it does not deal with conversations from unknown sources whose credibility cannot be verified. Al-Rai Al-'Aam, (Kuwait), May 31, 2004.)
Sawt Al-Jihad: "We ask Allah to accept this offering from your hands. What happened then?"
Al-Nashami: "All this time, we were ready and alert. One of the brothers suggested storming these cowards, for we had expected them for a long time, and they had not com e. So we sought Allah's advice [on what to do]. After evening prayers, we sought Allah's advice a second time. After late evening prayers, we sought Allah's advice a third time.
(The term used here for seeking Allah's advice is Istikhara, the practice of opening the Koran at random and picking a verse.)
"Strangely, we felt drowsy. Even more strangely, since the beginning of the operation in the morning, we had felt drowsy, and then we remembered the words of Allah:
'[Allah] enveloped you in sleep, [granted to you] as tranquility from Him [Koran 8:11].'" (Presumably the verse they had found in the process of Istikhara.)
"After the late evening prayer, we reviewed the situation, and moved after 9:00 pm. We went out from the last place the enemy would expect, and Allah blinded their eyes from seeing us.
"We ascended above one of the artificial waterfalls which overlooked the road. The distance between us and the ground was very great, 13 meters. Around these waterfalls were big trees, and five meters beyond them were concrete barriers surrounding the compound.
"First, brother Hussein jumped. He threw down his ammunition bag, put his Kalashnikov on his back, tightened the strap, said 'In the Name of Allah,' and jumped. When he reached the ground, he lay stretched out, so one of the brothers thought he was killed. But with Allah's mercy, the ground was soft and wet, because of the waterfall. Thus, brother Hussein suffered no harm. We could hardly believe our eyes. We called to him, and he responded, saying he was hale and hearty. Then we knew for sure that this was a great miracle from Allah, because the height was great, 13 meters. Oh Allah, praise be to You!
"Afterwards brother Nader jumped, then I did, and after that brother Nimr, may Allah receive him."
Sawt Al-Jihad: "Allah Akbar... Allah be praised for this great miracle and favor. And now you are out in the street."
Al-Nashami: "Yes, we are now in the street and the trees prevent them from seeing us, and all the forces that gathered outside thought we were inside the hotel. The time was almost 10:30 at night, and we were very tired and felt drowsy. We decided to rest before attacking them. It was only a few meters' distance between us and them, but Allah in his mercy had diverted their glance to the hotel and prepared for us the giant trees that hid us from them. To start with, they did not expect, by even one percentile, that we would jump from this high wall.
"The brothers slept for an hour, and I guarded them. All the brothers were certain that they would be killed [during the operation] but we preferred to fight after having rested. After that, I slept a sleep the likes of which I had never slept in my life in terms of restfulness and serenity, Allah be praised.
"Then we decided we would be the ones to attack. We gathered and beseeched Allah insistently with prayer to provide us with an army from among His hosts. The plan was that we four would appear and stop the first military vehicle we see. Nimr and Hussein would approach the car and kill the American dogs in it, and I would go to the Hummer and engage it with fire and thus distract attention away from the others, and brother Nader would carry the rest of the ammunition because it hinders rapid movement, and he would load it into the car. Then, having taken the car, we would head towards the ring of security guards to engage them..”
Sawt Al-Jihad: "How many soldiers were there, in your estimation?"
Al-Nashami: "The truth is that there were a great number of forces, armored cars, Hummers, and other vehicles. We meant to take the car because the ring of security was kilometers [long]. We had to have a car to carry us and our weapons, in order to break through it.
"When we appeared from behind the trees, the soldiers were startled and looked at us as if we were ghosts. The first to reach them was Nimr, may Allah have mercy upon him. He ran with incredible speed, shooting and shouting, 'Allah Akbar.' We exchanged fire with them, and Allah, in His kindness, generosity, mercy, and benevolence, gave us victory over them.
"The rest of the soldiers who were around the building began to fire, I do not know what they were shooting at, perhaps some of them were trying their weapons for the first time.
"We destroyed two jeeps and killed the people in them. I killed the driver of the third jeep, and the vehicle turned over several times. We were now in the middle of the street, and we couldn't find a car to drive in.
"We wanted to go down one of the nearby streets, but Nimr went out, quick as lightning, took a very difficult battle position, and exchanged fire with the Hummer. I saw the tracer bullets leaving his rifle, illuminating the soldier behind the machine gun. We crossed the street, with bullets showering down upon us like rain, and we returned fire. This was a miracle and wonderful grace from Allah. We saw the bullets [passing] between our feet and around us, but nevertheless nothing hurt us, Allah alone be praised.
"We entered the designated quarter, and, Allah be thanked, we managed to break out of this ring while those idiots were still shooting. Then we climbed into one of the cars and drove off.
"By Allah, I am stunned by what happened. The distance was a kilometer and a half, or two; we passed dozens of armored cars, jeeps, and APCs, and fired on all of them, and passed through them all, in the middle of the street where they were gathering, with only one meter between us and each of their vehicles.
"They blocked the street, but Allah facilitated our exit. We defied death, and wanted to plunge into their midst, seeking to slaughter them and achieve martyrdom. However, [the first Caliph] Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, spoke truly when he said, 'Desire death and you will be given life.'
"The tracer bullets frightened these cowards greatly. We shot at them with Kalashnikovs and also threw at them bombs made by our brothers. We shouted, 'Allah Akbar' and 'There is no God but Allah,' and Allah gave us a great victory.
"We broke through the first ring [of security], and then the second, and the third. In the third ring, the hero lion Nimr emerged from behind a car and fired. A bullet struck him in the middle of his chest, but despite this, this valiant lion continued firing.
"We broke through the fourth ring and the fifth, with Nimr's blood flowing strongly, but he continued shooting... We broke through the sixth ring, but Nimr fell at the sixth ring.
"Inside the car, he raised his index finger.
(In saying the Shahada, i.e. the Muslim declaration of faith: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet.")
We tried to move him and shake him, but he did not move, so we did not doubt that he was killed. We asked Allah to elevate him to a higher rank...
"When we came out of the sixth ring, we reached the highway. We could not believe that we had gotten through all these security rings. We knew with certainty that this was the result of divine support and benevolence.
"We went about 10 kilometers... We found a National Guard pickup truck and took it. Brother Nader was in the back with his weapon in order to shoot in case of exchanges of fire. On the highway we saw jeeps going the opposite direction, on their way to the site. We passed them by, thanks be to Allah, with them thinking that we were their friends - heaven forfend - and Allah blinded their eyes from seeing us, even though brother Nader was in the back of the truck carrying his rifle...
"We entered the city, with Allah's grace, as though what we had passed through was a dream, because of the many miracles and divine support that we saw. Oh Allah, to You is the praise and the gratitude, as behooves the magnificence of Your face and the greatness of Your rule!
"When we escaped, we got in touch with our brothers, and met them, thanks be to Allah always, and blessings to Him, for this great victory."
Sawt Al-Jihad: "One of the stupid mistakes of the media of Al-Salul [derogatory term for the royal House of Saud] was the publication of testimony of Arabs and Muslims who were in the compound, so the entire world heard that you did not target or harm the Muslims. Please tell us, may Allah protect you, about their attitude towards you, and about the impact of this event on them."
Al-Nashami: "Praise be to Allah. The truth is that this operation is considered a great victory from Allah. Dozens of people knew the demands of the Mujahideen and saw this with their own eyes. Many [of the Arabs and Muslims at the compound] prayed for our victory and success. Some of the Pakistani and Indian Muslims shouted 'Allah Akbar' with us, and when they found out the name of our brigade was Al-Quds [i.e. Jerusalem], they said, 'Allah Akbar, we want to go with you to Jerusalem.'
"When we were in the hotel we taught some of them the Koran. When we encountered an Arab or Muslim dressed like the infidels or with un-Islamic facial features, we advised him to stay away from the compounds in which the infidels live. Likewise, we advised them to wear Islamic clothing so no one would have to ask whether they were Muslims or not. We encountered an Iraqi Muslim who had American citizenship. He trembled before us but we told him that we had not come to kill Muslims...
"When we looked for the infidels, we passed the offices where some from the Arabian Peninsula waited for us apprehensively. We spoke with them and told them: 'Oh brothers, do not fear, we are not killing Muslims, we want the foreigner infidels. Oh fellows, how are you?' We did this until their fear was gone and they began to joke with us and to direct us to the sites of the infidels...."
Sawt Al-Jihad: "Were any of you hurt?"
Al-Nashami: "Only one light wound: Brother Hussein got a cut on his hand when he broke one of the glass windows. We are all well, Allah be praised, and we undertake before Allah, I and the members of my brigade, to participate again in a raid like this one, Allah be praised and thanked."
Sawt Al-Jihad: "Praise to Allah for your well-being, and we ask Allah to inscribe your reward, and to give your hearts the satisfaction of vengeance [against the infidels] in the same way that you gave satisfaction to the hearts of Muslims all over the world."
Sawt Al-Jihad, Issue No. 18, June 2004
Research by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute)
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