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Irish national placed on terror blacklist by Saudi Arabia

Mahdi al-Harati.jpg
Mahdi al-Harati.jpg

An Irish national has been placed on a terror blacklist by Saudi Arabia for the alleged backing of Islamic terror groups.

Mahdi al-Harati (44), who is originally from Firhouse, Dublin, is one of 59 alleged Islamic terrorists who has reportedly been blacklisted by Saudi intelligence agencies.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last week severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed sanctions on 12 groups and 59 alleged Islamic terrorists.

Al-Harati, who played a leading role in the toppling of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has reportedly "strongly rebutted" the accusations being made.

Gardaí are currently monitoring the activities of Irish nationals who plan to return to Ireland, having previously taken part in armed conflict abroad.

The Department of Justice did not respond to a number of queries at the time of going to print last night.

Al-Harati travelled to Tripoli in 2011 to fight the regime of Gaddafi and became commander of the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade.

After Gaddafi was removed from power Al-Harati became deputy military chief for Tripoli before travelling to Syria, where he joined the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Al-Harati was also one of those seized after an Israeli attack on a Gaza flotilla ship, the Mavi Marmara, in April 2010.

He was reported to have been wounded and spent nine days in a jail in Tel-Aviv.

A number of people with Irish links have previously taken part in foreign conflicts.

The first fighter with Irish links to die in Syria was Egyptian-born Hudhaifa El Sayed (22), from Drogheda, who was shot by regime forces in northern Syria in December 2012.

In February 2013, Libyan-born Shamseddin Gaidan (16) from Navan was killed after he went to Syria without his parents' permission.

In late April that year, Jordanian-born Alaa Ciymeh (26), who grew up in Dublin, was also killed.

He had travelled to Syria as part of Liwa al-Umma, a rebel brigade founded by Libyan-Irishman Al-Harati.

In June 2013, Hisham Habbash (29) died after joining rebel forces battling president al-Assad.