Al-Qaeda admits in videotape several abortive attempts on the life of Prince Mohammed bin Naif

Muslims denounce Israeli terrorists’ burning of mosque in Palestinian areas

Terrorists could get dirty bombs, Russia warns

A report in Saudi Gazette said a fourth plot to assassinate Prince Muhammad Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia's Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, was foiled "late last year".

Prince Muhammad, who is the son of Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, had been targeted several times by Al-Qaeda-linked attackers in the past, the most recent attack being staged in August last year.

The first attempt on Muhammad's life was made in 2004, when would-be assassins drove a bomb-laden vehicle to the Ministry of Interior's building in Riyadh. In the second attempt, which took place in Yemen, a missile was fired at the Prince's plane.

The U.S.-educated Prince works as a deputy to his father, who is third in line to the crown, and is widely credited with taking on Al-Qaeda operatives inside the Kingdom after 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

According to the Saudi Gazette report, two Al-Qaeda-linked attackers were involved in the foiled bid which was to have taken place several months after an attack on his life in August last year failed.

The would-be assassins "were confronted by security men at Hamra Al-Darb checkpoint, located in the southwest part of the Kingdom, and killed in a shootout at the scene," said the report.

U.S. officials have credited Prince Muhammad with heavy crackdown on the terror network operating inside the Kingdom. The United States had criticized his father Prince Naif, the Interior Minister, for perceived laxity in taking action against Al-Qaeda activists soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S.

However, human rights groups have often put the Prince in the dock for the methods adopted by his ministry in confronting terrorism.

It has been alleged that political dissidents and people who are allegedly linked to extremist groups are often hunted down.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has issued a video warning threatening to attack targets inside Saudi Arabia and demanding the release of its members in Saudi jails, the daily al-Hayat reported.

Qassem al-Reemy, a leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, warned that the organization intends to carry out terrorist attacks on Saudi targets, but there were no further details in the recording about what those targets may be.

The recording also listed the names of al-Qaeda's operatives who the group said were behind two previous attempts to assassinate Saudi's Deputy Minister of Defense, Mohamed bin Naif, in 2009.

That plan had been to fire a rocket at Naif's plane as it landed in Yemen - as well as firing rockets at the arrival hall where Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh would be waiting to meet him, the recording said.

However, the flight was canceled after security forces foiled the attack by finding a rocket, the group said in the recording.

The video indicated that Badr Mashrou and Salem al-Nahdi, Yemeni members of the organization who were killed in clashes with Yemeni security forces, had been selected to carry out the failed attack.

The group claimed that another Yemeni, Mohamed al-Ghazali, masterminded the second attempted assassination of Naif at his home in Jeddah, which lightly wounded the Saudi official.

That attack was carried out by Abdullah al-Aseery in a suicide bombing, which killed him.

One of the group's most successful attacks came in 2003, when the group claimed responsibility for suicide bombings on Western compounds in Riyadh that left 29 people dead.

Meanwhile, Israel is worried that Jewish militants torched a West Bank mosque in a bid to undermine peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

A mosque in the Palestinian village of Beit Fajar, just south of Bethlehem, became the fourth in the last two years to be the target of an arson attempt, according to human rights workers.

The attack is believed to be part of a campaign by vigilante settlers to ignite violence by attacking Muslim holy sites.

"Whoever did this is a terrorist in every sense of the word, and intended to hurt the chances for peace and dialogue with the Palestinians,'' said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a statement. "This was a shameful act that besmirched the State of Israel and its value."

Perpetrators of previous attacks against mosques have left behind in Hebrew graffiti the words "price tag," referring to a policy of using violence against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in retaliation for outpost evacuations and militant attacks on settlers.

The price tag campaign is seen by experts as an attempt by militant settlers to deter Israel from making concessions to Palestinians, either by evacuating illegal settler outposts or by temporarily halting settlement expansion in the West Bank.

Militant settlers have rioted in Palestinian villages and uprooted crops belonging to Palestinian farmers.

The arson attack in Beit Faraj comes as Israel, the US and the Palestinians are trying to reach a compromise on a new freeze in settlement building to enable peace talks to continue.

In 1994, Israeli Palestinian peace talks were disrupted after Baruch Goldstein, a New York-born born Jewish settler, walked in to a mosque in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs and gunned down worshipers, killing 29.

"Everyone knows this was Israeli settlers. There is no question that they want to disrupt any process, and they think they can do it by a conflagration that redefines it as a religious war between Jews and Muslims,'' said Yaron Ezrahi, a political science professor at Hebrew University. “The most explosive element in the conflict is the religious tension.”

The renewal of peace talks on Sept. 2 has prompted an uptake in violence by Palestinian militants as well. There have been three shootings in the last two months which have left four dead.

The mosque torching could weaken Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by fanning skepticism about peace talks and leading to retaliation.

"It seems that the settlers are pushing things to a third Intifada. The general public feeling is very sad and very mad,'' said Nashat Aqtasj, a communications professor at Bir Zeit University. “This will increase the feeling that negotiations is not doing any good for the Palestinians, it brings more violence.”

A spokesman for the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said the organization is already pursuing three mosque arson cases with the Palestinians. Despite investigations which have continued for months, there have been no indictments, said Michael Sfard, a lawyer for Yesh Din.

Of the more than 700 cases of violence against Palestinians in the last 5 years, only 8 percent have resulted in indictments.

Sfard said the rising number of attacks is a result of "unprofessional" and sub-par law enforcement in the West Bank.

"There have always been attempts by settlers to use violence to change the course of political events," he said. "Unfortunately they are very successful at that."

On the other hand, Russian security agencies believe international terror networks are increasing their efforts to gain access to biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction, the head of the country's Security Council said last week.

"We have such indications. Worldwide, terrorists have also tried to buy radioactive material for a dirty bomb," Nikolai Patrushev said at a security conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Terrorists would like to target energy production, he said in remarks to the Interfax news agency. He mentioned the Suez Canal in Egypt and the Strait of Gibraltar as possibly appealing targets.

Patrushev also said al-Qaeda is involved in the bloody conflict plaguing Russia's Caucasus region. He alleged that the terrorist group is training fighters along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and then sending them to the Caucasus.

"In the Northern Caucasus, the calls to overthrow the regime and create a caliphate are getting ever louder," he said.