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DOHA: A prominent cleric from Saudi Arabia has offered to pay $100,000 to any Palestinian who kidnaps an Israeli soldier, according to his Facebook page, wire agencies have reported. In addition Saudi Prince Khaled bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (brother of business tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal), has offered $900,000 to take the total reward to $1m.
Awad Al Qarni said he had made the offer in response to a similar reward promised by an Israeli family for anyone who catches the person who killed one of its members in 1998, following the exchange this month of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
“The media reported the news of the Zionist occupiers paying a huge sum to anyone who killed the freed Palestinian prisoners,” Qarni, who is well known in Saudi Arabia for his outspoken views but is not part of the official clerical establishment, said on his Facebook page.
“In response to those criminals, I announce to the world that I am committed to pay a $100,000 prize to any Palestinian inside Palestine who takes an Israeli soldier captive to exchange with (remaining) prisoners.”
Saudi Prince Khaled bin Talal offered $900,000 to match reward offered by Al Qarni for the capture of any Israeli soldier. The total reward of $1m is claimed to be a response to similar offers by Israeli settlers for the captures or murders of freed Palestinian prisoners.
Qarni told Al Arabiya television that he had received wide support on his Facebook page and elsewhere.
“We have also received letters from ... groups from Arab countries. So the issue is not limited to Qarni, who was just the person who launched this initiative,” he told the station by telephone.
Prince Khaled, originally quoted by the Palestinian network Al Wattan TV, said, “Al Qarni offered $100,000 for whoever kidnaps a soldier, then (unnamed Israeli groups) offered $1m to kill Al Qarni, and now I’m saying to Al Qarni that I’m supporting you by offering another $900,000, which will make it a million for whoever kidnaps a soldier,” wire agencies said.