Document: Al-Qaida Encourages Oil Attacks
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Al-Qaida has encouraged its followers to attack oil pipelines and facilities in Muslim countries but not wells, according to a document posted on a Web site by the group that targeted the world’s largest oil-processing complex in Saudi Arabia.
The document was at least a year old, but al-Qaida’s branch in Saudi Arabia posted it earlier this week on an Islamic militant Web forum to show the religious justification for the Feb. 24 attempt to blow up the Abqaiq facility.
``Targeting oil interests is legitimate economic jihad. In this era, economic jihad is one of the best ways to spite nonbelievers,″ said the document, written by Abdul Aziz bin Rasheed al-Anzy, described by Saudi authorities as one of al-Qaida’s key ``ideologues.″
Saudi police wounded and arrested al-Anzy in May 2005. The document, though not dated, was written before then. Its authenticity could not be independently confirmed.
``Pipelines may be the front line in a long-term war of attrition on oil and its interests,″ al-Anzy wrote in the 63-page document, titled ``The Ruling on Targeting Oil Interests.″
``There is a great benefit in targeting oil pipelines to spite enemies in a way not realized by other means. Pipelines are an easy target militarily. Their protection is virtually impossible because of their length.″
Oil facilities also are a fair target, the document said.
``Targeting refineries and oil factories is not very different from targeting oil pipelines″ as long as they are owned by the state or ``a nonbeliever,″ he purportedly wrote.
However, oil wells should not be attacked as long as there are other oil targets.
``The harm caused by targeting oil wells in the lands of Muslims outweigh the benefits because of health and environmental damages and because this will deprive Muslims of the benefit (of the oil wells) when God allows victory,″ the document said.
Another reason not to attack oil wells, al-Anzy purportedly wrote, was that ``the apostate governments exploit these operations to tarnish the image of jihad and mujahedeen.″
``The benefits attained by targeting oil wells can be realized by targeting other oil facilities and interests,″ he added.
The Saudi Interior Ministry has said at the time of al-Anzy’s arrest that he was one of the editors of online al-Qaida periodicals that call for jihad, or holy war, and incite aggression.
The Feb. 24 bombing at Abqaiq was the first attack on an oil facility in the kingdom, which has been battling al-Qaida militants since 2003 and is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden.
Suicide bombers tried to crash two explosives-laden vehicles through a gate of the sprawling facility. One collided with the gate, but guards opened fire, detonating them before they could get through, Saudi officials have said.
At least two militants and two security guards were killed.
Days afterward, Saudi security forces launched a raid in Riyadh, killing five militants _ including two who were involved in the Abqaiq attack and the leader of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia, according to the Interior Ministry.
The Saudi branch of al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the Abqaiq attack and warned it would continue targeting oil facilities.