Published Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 | 5:02 a.m.
Updated Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 | 5:03 a.m.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's top cleric has urged young citizens to obey the king's orders not to fight in conflicts abroad.
Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik said on Saudi television Wednesday night that people have been tricked into thinking they are fighting a holy war for God's sake, but instead have fallen prey to enemies of Islam.
The mufti did not specify who those enemies of Islam are, but it is widely believed that Syria's civil war has drawn hundreds of Saudis to fight alongside jihadist militants. Many were encouraged by influential clerics who view the fight as a sectarian battle between Sunnis and Shiites.
Earlier this week, King Abdullah ordered that citizens who fight in foreign conflicts or incite jihad should receive lengthy prison sentences.