Senior al Qaeda activist, policeman killed in Riyadh clash
Al Qaeda gunmen and security forces battled in a neighborhood of the Saudi capital Wednesday, and the shootout left at least two dead, including one policeman, an official said. Six policemen and three civilians in the scene were injured.
Authorities closed exits to the eastern al-Quds neighborhood and a large number of police vehicles and ambulances converged on the scene, witnesses said. Police helicopters patrolled above, witnesses added.
"At 15:30, a group of people, some of whom carrying weapons, were detected while leaving a safe house in King Fahd neighborhood in the city of Riyadh," an official statement said. "...The security authorities were able to detect a car they were using. When asked to stop, the suspects started to fire at the police who responded and killed one of them."
Later, it was revealed that the house from which they came out was a den used for manufacturing of explosives, the statement added.
The dead man was identifed as Abdullah Mohammed Rashid al-Roshoud, who believed to be the chief ideologist for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
According to The AP, Al-Roshoud has called for Jihad against the Saudi royal family and Western interests in the Gulf region. A former high school professor of Islamic studies, al-Roshoud was known for writing statements on Islamic Internet sites and issuing fatwas, justifying attacks against the Saudi government and foreign influences in the kingdom.
Meanwhile, the first Saudi to surrender under an amnesty announced June 23 by authorities urged others to turn themselves in and "go back to the path of righteousness."
In an interview late Tuesday with the state-run satellite news network, Al-Ekbariya, Saaban bin Mohamed bin Abdullah Alleihi al-Shihri apologized to the Saudi government and people by saying "I am very regretful for what I have done."
Al-Shihri is not on the most-wanted list, published by the Saudi security forces last year.
"Fear God, go back to your senses, declare your repentance and listen to what the clergy said about how sinful terror acts are," al-Shihri told wanted men during his televised statement. "Turn yourselves in, and you will only find good."
Al-Shihri said he surrendered at a police station in the southern province of al-Namas. "I was treated very well, and I did not expect that," he stated.
Saudi newspapers Wednesday carried new pleas by relatives of wanted men to comply with the amnesty.
Othman Hadi Al Maqboul al-Amri, No. 21 on the most-wanted list, surrendered Monday. He was primarily involved in smuggling weapons. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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