2003 News Story

Kingdom seeking release of medical staff detained in Iraq

Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation for Military Affairs, said strenuous efforts are being made by Saudi authorities to gain the release of two Saudi medical staff detained in Iraq.  In a meeting with the press following the First Annual Conference on Medical Services of the Armed Forces, Prince Khalid said the detainees' location had been determined and interviews with them made, and measures had been taken in coordination with the occupation forces and Iraqi bodies to repatriate them as soon as possible.


Saudi Arabia had been maintaining a field hospital in Baghdad with over 150 medical staff that conducted thousands of surgical operations, with more intensive cases evacuated to the Kingdom for special treatment.  Earlier this month, the Ministry of Defense and Aviation announced that the field hospital had completed its mission.

Prince Khaled added that the Kingdom is continuing to search for Saudis missing since the 1991 Gulf war, commenting on the importance of knowing their whereabouts and whether they are dead or alive.

Asked about the status of Iraqi refugees in the Kingdom, Prince Khaled said most of them have opted to return to their country, and that the Rafha refugee camp is in process of being closed down.

In response to a question on whether there are depleted uranium materials remaining from the 1991 Gulf war, Prince Khaleid said uranium traces are always found in any war and that the Kingdom continues to search for them and wants to reassure everyone that the Kingdom is monitoring the situation, saying: “Some traces were found but they were of no detrimental impact, and were dealt with successfully."

Prince Khaled dismissed a British media report warning of anticipated terrorist attacks in the Kingdom and attributed it to “confusion and haste”.