CIA warns Norway-based activist Iyad el-Baghdadi, a critic of MbS, of 'Saudi threat to life'

CIA warns Norway-based activist Iyad el-Baghdadi, a critic of MbS, of 'Saudi threat to life'
Iyad el-Baghdadi was taken from his home in Norway by security officials after the country received word from the CIA of a potential threat from Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
07 May, 2019
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been frequently criticised by el-Baghdadi [Getty]

A Palestinian-born activist living in Norway under asylum protection has reportedly been whisked away to a secure location by Norwegian security after the CIA informed officials there that he could be in danger.

Iyad el-Baghdadi,a critic of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, was quoted by Norway's news agency NTB as saying Norwegian officials came to his home on April 25 and told him he may be in danger and took him to a safe place.

He said the threat was unclear, but that "something came on the radar of the CIA".

The CIA warned Norway Baghdadi "was in possible danger from an unspecified threat emanating from the kingdom", The Guardian first reported.

Baghdadi acknowledged on Twitter Tuesday a threat to his safety. "Thanks for your concern, everyone. If they don't want to kill me, then I'm not doing my job," he tweeted.

Baghdadi is a Palestinian writer who amassed a sizeable Twitter presence during the Arab spring.

Baghdadi sought asylum in Norway in 2015 after his expulsion from the United Arab Emirates. He is known for his sarcastic critique of Arab autoritain leaders, including bin Salman.  

"If they get away with kidnapping the next step will be assassinations in your capitals, and I'm not joking even a little bit," Baghdadi tweeted after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi - a US-based journalist critical of Saudi Arabia who was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The murder of Khashoggi sparked global outrage. The CIA believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi and say his body was dismembered and removed to a location still publicly unknown.

After first denying Khashoggi's murder, Saudi Arabia later said rogue agents had carried out the operation. A trial of 11 suspects opened earlier this year in Saudi Arabia.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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