The handing over of 26/11 accused Abu Jundal by Saudi Arabia to India on June 21 was part of the kingdom’s drive against the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) after Riyadh was convinced by Indian and US interlocutors that the terror outfit was linked to al Qaeda and had members of its royalty on its hit list.
Top government sources said the Saudi government took up cudgels against LeT after New Delhi provided evidence that the al Qaeda suicide bomber who tried to assassinate deputy interior minister Prince Muhammad bin Nayef al Saud on August 27, 2009 at his Jeddah residence was trained by Pakistanis linked to LeT.
The prince was targeted by the al Qaeda bomber who pretended that he wanted to join the country’s terrorist rehabilitation programme.
Thee 23-year-old Saudi bomber radicalised in Yemen in 2007 by Pakistani jehadist trainers blew himself up near the prince, who had a miraculous escape with only minor injuries on two of his fingers.
Senior officials said New Delhi was constantly in touch with Prince Muqrim bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, director general of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency after Jundal was detained at Damman on April 26, 2011.
Saudi deputy interior minister Prince Muhammed bin Nayef played a crucial role in Jundal being sent to India and supplied all documents and evidence to establish that the terrorist was of Indian origin and was a hardcore Lashkar operative.
New Delhi understands that the Saudis are only against the LeT-al Qaeda terror network but maintain a close relationship with the Pakistani army.
“We are clear that the Saudis have decided to take action against Lashkar as neighbour Yemen is the hotbed of the al Qaeda and other jehadists but they have not cut off ties with Pakistan,” said a senior official.