DUBAI: A Saudi father gave his ex-wife the shock of her life when he informed her he was taking their 10 and 11 year-old-sons to join Islamist militants in Syria, telling her to count them as “birds in heaven”, Saudi-owned media reported.
The pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper said on Tuesday that the unsuspecting mother had been told that her sons, Abdullah and Ahmed, were going on holiday with their father, identified as Nasser al-Shayeq, in a neighbouring Gulf Arab country when she saw an Instagram photo of them in Turkey.
Al-Hayat said she telephoned her son to ask about the photo, only to receive a message from her ex-husband, a former Saudi civil servant, to say that he was taking the boys to Syria to join Islamic State, one of the most militant groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad. “Count your children as birds in heaven,” Shayeq said in his message, according to al-Hayat, suggesting that they may be killed and become young “martyrs”. Fellow Islamic State militants later posted a photo of the father and his two sons crouching in front of Islamic State’s black flag, with each boy brandishing an AK-47 rifle in one hand. The father was smiling as one of the boys also held a grenade in his other hand.
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