Saudi Arabia may be a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, but the oil-rich kingdom is also the No. 1 supplier of fighters for the Islamic State terror group in Iraq, according to Iraqi military sources.
(FOX)- “The Saudi presence in ISIS is very large. What we have left are mainly Iraqis and Saudis,” one high-ranking Iraqi counter terrorism intelligence officer, who requested anonymity, told Fox News.
“The Saudis make up a large number of suicide bombers, as they already have the ground work of radicalization installed in their minds from radical sheikhs in Saudi. And we’ve caught important ISIS commanders.”
Another Iraqi intelligence source confirmed that Saudis comprise the largest single contingent of ISIS fighters, with Russian Chechens making up the second-largest contingent.
Numerous photographs and documents from ISIS hideouts that were seen by Fox News show identification and credit cards of fighters hailing from Saudi Arabia. Such identification has also been seen on numerous casualties.
It is difficult to determine exactly how many ISIS personnel or weapons hail from the kingdom. As early as 2014, regional reports emerged that at least 7,000 Saudi militants had already joined the ISIS fold. However, Saudi officials have downplayed these numbers; late last year officials stated a total of 1,540 citizens were fighting across Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.