Swedes help Saudi Arabia for secret arms factory
STOCKHOLM / DHAKASweden has in secret been helping Saudi Arabia plan the construction of an arms factory to produce anti-tank missiles, public broadcaster Swedish Radio reported yesterday.
The Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI) has helped Saudi Arabia since 2007, though construction on “Project Simoom” has yet to begin, the radio said citing hundreds of classified documents and interviews with key players. Sweden has in the past sold weapons to Saudi Arabia, but classified government documents state that Project Simoom “pushes the boundaries of what is possible for a Swedish authority,” the radio said.
“The fact that an authority such as FOI is involved in the planning of a weapons factory for a government in a dictatorship such as Saudi Arabia is quite unique,” the radio said. FOI director general Jan-Olof Lind denied the existence of the project. “We do not have a project agreement with that country,” he told the radio.
Saudi diplomat shot dead
Meanwhile, an official from Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Bangladesh was shot dead early yesterday by unknown assailants, police said. Khalaf Mohamamd S. Al Ali was found with bullet injuries in his chest on a street in Dhaka’s Gulshan residential area shortly after midnight, police official Kamrul Hasan said. He said Al Ali, 45, was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.
The motive for the killing was unclear, he said. Relations between the countries were tested in October, when Saudi authorities beheaded eight Bangladeshi workers who were found guilty of robbing and killing an Egyptian man.