DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A new study by a Saudi research center is challenging the notion that jihadi fighters are necessarily disenfranchised and lacking opportunity.
The study finds instead that most millennial Saudi jihadis were relatively well-educated, not driven purely by religious ideology and showed little interest in suicide bombings.
The 40-page study published by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies looked at 759 Saudi recruits who joined the Islamic State group mostly between 2013 and 2014. The data was drawn from leaked Islamic State group entry documents.
Researcher Abdullah Khaled bin Al-Saud said Thursday this new generation of Saudi jihadis were neither loners nor social outcasts, but appear motivated by the heightened sectarian nature of the Syrian war, particularly after the Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah group’s backing of the Syrian government.
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