A newspaper says six Saudi nationals were behind al-Qaida's abduction of the kingdom's diplomat in Yemen, who was released this week after three years in captivity.

The state-linked Saudi Okaz newspaper reports Wednesday that the six militants are on the kingdom's most-wanted terrorist list but did not give their names. The newspaper, quoting unnamed security officials, says the abduction was carried out under direct orders from al-Qaida's leader in Yemen, Nasser al-Wahishi, who was Osama bin Laden's top aide in Afghanistan.

Diplomat Abdullah al-Khaldi was abducted in March 2012 in front of his home in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, where he worked as the deputy consul at the Saudi mission. He was freed Monday, though the kingdom did not disclose how its intelligence services secured his release.