This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (March 2019)
The Tiger Squad (Arabic: فرقة النمر, Firqat el-Nemr), according to an unnamed source interviewed by the London-based online news outlet Middle East Eye following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 and a BBC source inside Saudi Arabia who has a relative in the squad, is a Saudi team that consists of approximately fifty Saudi officers.
According to the Middle East Eye source, the Tiger Squad is a death squad of members from the military and intelligence agencies that has a mandate to carry out covert operations and executions, killing Saudi dissidents inside Saudi Arabia and abroad in a way that "goes unnoticed by the media, the international community". Sa'ad Al-Faqih, who claims he knows about this squad, confirmed that the role of the squad was to target and kill Saudi opponents.
History and composition
According to the Middle East Eyes source, the Tiger Squad was formed in 2017 and as of October 2018[update], consists of 50 secret service and military personnel. The group members are recruited from different branches of the Saudi forces, directing several areas of expertise. The source was independently verified by Middle East Eye, though it could not confirm his information. On the other hand, BBC Newsnight reported a team of fifty Saudi officers to target Saudi critics was created in summer of 2018, and, according to David Ignatius, United States intelligence became aware in September 2018 of a "tiger team" to be created by Asiri for covert operations against unknown targets.
The Middle East Eye source said the Tiger Squad assassinates dissidents using varying methods such as planned car accidents, house fires, or injecting toxic substances into adversaries during regular health checkups. Saudi Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman had selected five members of his personal security team to serve in the Tiger squad.
According to the Middle East Eye source, the five members of the Tiger Squad selected by Mohammad bin Salman allegedly spearheaded the 15-member death squad responsible for murdering and dismembering Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. In a later report, Middle East Eye stated seven members of the 15-member death squad were Mohammed bin Salman's personal bodyguards. According to the BBC source, the whole 15-member death squad killing Jamal Khashoggi were part of the Tiger Squad (Tiger Team).
The Tiger Squad also reportedly killed Suleiman Abdul Rahman al-Thuniyan, a Saudi court judge who was murdered by injection of deadly virus into his body when he had visited a hospital for a regular health checkup. "One of the techniques the tiger squad uses to silence dissidents or opponents of the government is to 'kill them with HIV, or other sorts of deadly viruses'". However, some sources have stated that al-Thuniyan died after he suffered from a chronic disease.
Middle East Eye's source said, "I know of another attempt, which was to lure Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz in Canada to the consulate and kill him, but Abdulaziz refused to go and the mission failed. Khashoggi was the first [successful] operation." Abdulaziz, who had made a YouTube video satirizing the kingdom, said he was approached earlier in 2018 by Saudi officials who urged him to visit their embassy with them to collect a new passport. He said they said "it will only take one hour, just come with us to the embassy." After he refused, Saudi authorities arrested two of his brothers and several of his friends in Saudi Arabia. He secretly recorded his conversations with those officials, which were several hours long, and provided them to The Washington Post. Neither he nor the newspaper allege these officials wanted to kill him.
- "Jamal Khashoggi: What more can we learn from his death? - BBC Newsnight". BBC. 6 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
- Abu Sneineh, Mustafa (22 October 2018). "REVEALED: The Saudi death squad MBS uses to silence dissent". Middle East Eye. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
- Ignatius, David (2018-10-16). "MBS's rampaging anger will not silence questions about Jamal Khashoggi". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
The U.S. government learned last month that Assiri was planning to create a "tiger team" to conduct covert special operations, I'm told, though officials didn't know the targets.
- navva.org https://navva.org/saudi/nation/the-death-of-the-president-of-the-court-of-mecca-in-a-hospital-in-riyadh/. Retrieved 2019-04-16. Missing or empty
- "Saudi dissidents fear 'long arm' of state after Khashoggi murder". Digital Journal. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
- "Is Saudi Arabia safe in Mohammed bin Salman's hands?". Middle East Eye. 22 October 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
- Jamal Khashoggi: What more can we learn from his death?, Saudi dissident Sa'ad Al-Faqih, the head of the London-based Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA), interviewed by BBC Newsnight about the Tiger Squad, published on Nov 6, 2018