Manama: The family of the Saudi suicide bomber who blew himself up inside a Najran mosque killing two worshippers had disavowed him, saying it had nothing to do with his terrorist act.
“We were deeply shocked by his heinous and despicable act that cannot be condoned by our religion or tolerated our values,” the family said. “We as his family and his tribe totally condemn his act and we offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the worshippers who were killed. We stress that whoever planned and carried out the attack have acted against Islam,” the family said.
Saad Saeed Saad Al Harithi, 32, killed two people at the Mashhad Mosque in the southern city of Najran on Monday when he blew himself up after the Maghreb (Sunset) prayers.
His family and neighbours said they had never suspected he had contacts with supporters of any radical ideology and seemed to lead a normal life.
“On Sunday, he woke up at 3am and told his wife he was going to check his sheep as he planned to sell them,” the family told Saudi news site Sabq. “By 11am, his wife started to worry because he did not contact her and she could not reach him since his mobile was powered off. She informed his father who preferred to wait until the evening. On Monday morning, the father contacted the security authorities in the area and informed them his son was missing.”
The family learned on Tuesday that Saad was the bomber who blew himself up in the mosque in Najran.
Saad was the fifth in his family and both his family and his neighbours said that he had been “very good with his parents.”
“When he went to middle school, he became more pious and started fasting every Monday and Thursday, but his character did not really change and there were no signs he was becoming radicalized,” the family said.
“When he graduated from a technical high school in Taef, he worked as an electrician in the education district then moved on to join the investigation and prosecution commission in Makkah where he stayed for two years. He married his cousin, the daughter of his aunt, and they had a girl who is now starting school and a boy.”
However, the family said they started to notice changes in his character and at one time disappeared for some time.
“He met someone who told him to accompany him on a trip to Syria reportedly to do some charity work and to help raise funds. Saad went along and travelled to Syria, prompting the father to alert the security authorities.”
The son later contacted the father telling him he wanted to go home, but he could not. The two eventually met in Turkey.
“Upon his return to his family in Saudi Arabia, Saad had several counseling sessions that lasted more than one year. His situation improved and he started a new chapter in his life,” the family said.
Saad opened a shop for hijama, the traditional medicine where blood is drawn by vacuum from a small skin incision for therapeutic purposes.
“He achieved great fame and he made a lot of money, which allowed him to venture into the lucrative sheep business.”
Saad’s father and brothers Bandar who works in Taef police, Mohammad, employee in the health sector, Bader, who works in the military base, and Ahmad, a businessman, said they wanted to warn young people against being influenced by “the forces of darkness who know absolutely nothing about religion”.