Friday, June 18, 2004
Saudi security forces killed the kingdom's top al Qaeda leader Abdulaziz al-Muqrin and two other militants Friday shortly after the group beheaded the U.S. engineer they were holding, a senior security source said.From earlier coverage:
"Yes it is correct, he (Muqrin) was killed with two other senior militants," the source told Reuters. He said he was one of three militants killed in the al-Malazz area in the capital, Riyadh, in a shootout Friday.
Muqrin claimed responsibility for the beheading of American Paul [Marshall] Johnson and the killing of other Westerners in the kingdom, which has battled Osama bin Laden's group for over a year.
Johnson was the third American killed in Riyadh in the past 10 days, stepping up pressure on thousands of U.S. citizens and other foreigners vital to the economy of the world's biggest oil exporter and on the Saudi royal family, which bin Laden has sworn to overthrow for its close alliance with Washington.
The U.S. embassy said more attacks were likely and the State Department was set to issue a new warning to Americans.
Saudi forces in Riyadh surrounded and killed three Islamic militants believed to be linked to Johnson's death, a Saudi security source said, adding that scores of arrests had been made and more would follow in an operation against the suspected al Qaeda leader in the kingdom, Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin . . . .
Al Qaeda has vowed 2004 would be "bloody and miserable" for the kingdom, a key U.S. ally.