RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ Government-owned newspapers condemned an alleged Libyan plot to kill Crown Prince Abdullah, while Saudi Arabia's top cleric called assassinating officials ``a great sin'' in remarks published Saturday.
``Islamic law is against such acts because assassinations are criminal acts ... that reflect treason,'' Sheik Abdul-Aziz bin Al al-Sheik, was quoted as telling the Okaz daily newspaper in an interview. ``Assassinating officials and killing the innocent is a sin, a great sin.''
U.S. media quoted unidentified sources as saying Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had ordered Abdullah's assassination. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalqam has denied the reports. President Bush said Thursday that U.S. investigators were trying to establish whether there was such a plot.
Al-Sheik urged trials for any plotters and said all Muslims had a duty to denounce such acts.
In its editorial, Okaz said the conspiracy ``has become a source of unity and solidarity for us (Saudis).''
The newspaper accused Gadhafi of ``undermining every Arab effort aimed at strengthening the (Arab) nation's unity.'' It also ran a caricature of Gadhafi with a poem underneath it saying he is ``draped in shame'' and warning that an attempt to kill Saudi leaders could lead to war.
Al-Yawm newspaper, an Arabic-language daily, ran an editorial in which it said the allegation of a Libyan plot caught everyone by surprise.
``It confirmed that terrorism is not only confined to a deviant bunch, but also seems to include leaders who are more deviant,'' the paper said. The ``deviant bunch'' is one of many euphemisms Saudi authorities have been using to describe terrorists who have carried out recent attacks in the kingdom.
Al-Yawm added that Gadhafi's 35 years of rule have been ``marred by confusion and conspiracy.''
The United States continues to list Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism, but relations between the two countries have improved since Libya agreed to dismantle its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs in December.
A heated public exchange of insults between Gadhafi and Abdullah at an Arab summit last year showed the severity of their troubled relations and resulted in Libya's withdrawal of its ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Gadhafi accused the Saudis of allowing U.S. troops to enter Arab lands, while Abdullah called Gadhafi an agent for the Americans.