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Sudanese professor arrested in Saudi Arabia on terror links

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April 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Saudi authorities have arrested a Sudanese university professor on charges of belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS) and subjected him to extensive investigations, said sources.

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FILE - Two ISIS supporters hold flag (ABC News)

Sudan Tribune learnt that Fakhr al-Din Alsir al-Khidir, 32, former engineering teaching assistant at the Sudan University of Science and Technology was arrested in Dammam where he currently lectures at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM).

Sources close to Salafi groups told Sudan Tribune that al-Khidir is a close disciple of the famous Jihadist Salafist preacher Masa’ad al-Sidairah, who had openly pledged allegiance to ISIS’ leader and the self-proclaimed Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

They said the Saudi intelligence became aware of al-Khidir’s posts on social media especially his Facebook posts where he expressed support for the Islamic group and held contacts with young Sudanese enrolled in the organisation.

According to the Saudi interior ministry website, al-Khidir is currently under intensive investigation to ascertain the authenticity of the suspicions and charges against him.

An expert on Islamic Jihadist groups, al-Hadi Mohamed al-Amin told Sudan Tribune that al-Khidir is the third Sudanese to be arrested by the Saudi authorities.

“The first is Abdel-Azim al-Tahir Abdalla Ibrahim who was arrested on 30 October 2016 in Shagra province among a jihadist cell including 4 people for allegedly planning a terror attack on a football match between the Saudi and the United Arab Emirates teams in Jeddah’s Al-Jawhara Stadium,” he said.

According to Al-Amin, the second is Mazin Mukhtar Mohamed who was arrested in February of this year among a cell that was planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Mecca, Riyadh and Medina.

Al-Amin ruled out that Ibrahim and Mohamed will be released before trial, saying there is evidence that they have engaged in operational plans to carry out terror attacks besides their contacts with ISIS.

He added that al-Khidir, on the other hand, will most likely be deported to Sudan, saying he will be considered a “persona non grata” and his name would remain on the Saudi black list.

In 2015, the Ministry of Interior in Khartoum announced that about 70 Sudanese had gone to join the ISIS franchises, both in Libya and Syria.

However, experts on Islamic groups put the total number of the Sudanese fighters within ISIS at 150 Jihadists, saying that 56 of them had travelled to join the extremist organisation from countries other than Sudan.

They say that 35 of them have been killed in Iraq and Syria while 20 others died in Libya.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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