London: A woman in Saudi Arabia, Heila al-Qusayyer, has been named the al-Qaeda``s ``First Lady``, who was running a cell of 60 militants and is believed to have been the Arabian peninsula``s principal fund-raiser for the terror outfit.
Qusayyer holds a degree in geography and was married to a former executive, Abdulkareem al-Humaid, from Aramco, the state oil company, who gave up all his worldly possessions to become a radical preacher.
"The story of this woman, who was involved in collecting money, with that money finding its way to al-Qaeda, has been like an alarm call to us," The Telegraph quoted General Mansur al-Turki of the Saudi Interior Ministry, as saying.
There had been previous arrests of women terrorists, including some involved in bomb preparation, but because of sensitivity towards the role of women, they were returned home, the paper said.
However, the country``s approach to suspects has become tougher across the board after Saeed al-Shehri, the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and a former Guantanamo Bay inmate, returned to Saudi Arabia and then fled to Yemen, it added.
Shehri has demanded the release of Heila al-Qusayyer, who had been arrested in February. According to the report, the authorities, based on confessions of Qusayyer, have revealed that she used the cover of Islamic charities to obtain donations of cash and jewellery that she passed on to al-Qaeda.
Wafa al-Shehri, wife of Saeed al-Shehri, was a key intermediary, returning to Saudi Arabia to recruit women and girls. But Qusayyer is also said to have been intending to join Saeed al-Shehri and become his second wife, it added.