DUBAI, Oct 26 (Reuters) - A prominent Saudi cleric has
offered to pay $100,000 to any Palestinian who kidnaps an
Israeli soldier, according to his Facebook page.
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."
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
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, sees itself as a
champion of Palestinian rights but Saudi leaders have been at
pains to curb more radical statements by Muslim clerics on the
In 2002, the Western-allied kingdom floated a peace
initiative calling for full Arab recognition of Israel if it
gave up all lands occupied in a 1967 war and accepts a solution
for Palestinian refugees.
(Reporting by Firouz Sedarat and Isabel Coles; Editing by Kevin
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