Saudi Arabia, Turkey Agree to Set Up Strategic Cooperation Council
The Mufti's statements followed remarks attributed to secretive Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a 24-minute audio recording released last week. In the recording Al-Baghdadi called the new Saudi-led alliance a US ‘puppy' and threatened to turn Israel into a "graveyard," saying Daesh has "not forgotten Palestine for a single moment."
During a telephone interview with the Saudi Gazette, Al Sheikh spoke in support of an Islamic anti-terrorism military alliance and vowed to defeat the Daesh extremists, claiming that the actions of the violent religious group are heretical and un-Islamic.
"They cannot be considered as followers of Islam," he said. "Rather, they are an extension of Kharijites, who rose in revolt against the Islamic caliphate for the first time by labeling Muslims as infidels and permitting their bloodletting."
As for al Baghdadi's pledge to attack Israel, the 72-year old Al Sheikh said that it was a lie and that Daesh jihadists were part of Israeli army.
"Actually Daesh is part of the Israeli soldiers," he stated, asserting an alliance between the Israeli army and Daesh militants.
The pronouncements by both Al Sheikh and al-Baghdadi make it obvious that Israel remains a politically charged issue in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia on December 15 announced the formation of a coalition to counter terrorism, created by Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Prince Muhammed bin Salman. Member states include Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and Gulf Arab and several African states.