Senior Qaeda activist killed in Saudi shootout
Saudi security forces killed two operatives, including one considered al-Qaeda's chief of operations on the Arabian Peninsula, in a shootout in Riyadh on Monday, US and Saudi officials said.
A Saudi Interior Ministry statement said the two were killed in the al-Nasseem neighborhood, in eastern Riyadh, in an exchange of fire with security forces Monday afternoon.
Abu Hazim al-Sha'ir, a Yemeni, was the senior al-Qaeda figure in the region, a US counterterrorism official said, requesting anonymity. The official said his death represented a "major, very significant blow" to bin Laden's network.
"This guy was involved in ongoing terrorist planning and plotting," the official added.
The Saudi Interior Ministry identified the dead as Khaled Ali Haj, a Yemeni, and Ibrahim bin Abdul-Aziz bin Mohammed al-Mezeini, a Saudi.
Haj is another named used by Abu Hazim, according to the US counterterrosim official, who ranked third on the government's list of 26 "most wanted".
The suspects were reportedly riding in a vehicle and refused to stop for a spot identification check by members of the security forces. The suspects began shooting at the security forces, who returned fire, killing the two, the statement said.
The Saudi statement said six hand grenades, two AK-47 assault rifles, three 9mm pistols and $137,000 in cash were found in the vehicle. The security forces took no casualties, according to the statement. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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