Tue, Jan 11, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Al-Qaeda-linked militants shot dead in Saudi Arabia

AP , Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Police shot dead four Saudi terrorists believed to be linked to al-Qaeda after they fled the desert tent whey were hiding Sunday, an Interior Ministry official said.

Security forces surrounded the tent in Nafoud Thoweirat, a remote town north of Zilfi province, 280km north of the Saudi capital Riyadh, and called on the militants, all Saudis, to surrender, the unidentified official said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

But the militants refused, trying to flee in a car while hurling hand grenades, and were killed by the police at about 7:30am. Three Saudi security personnel were slightly injured.

The statement said the four belonged to the "deviant group" -- a term used by the government to describe followers of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network.

Weapons, explosives, ammunition, cash, car license plates and documents were found in the tent, the statement said. A later ministry statement identified three of the militants, and said they were working to identify the fourth.

Mohammed Abdul-Rahman al-Faraj was identified as one who took part in recruiting, transporting explosives and preparing a number of operations. Mashaal Obeid al-Hasseri was said to have killed two security men in a shootout, and participated in the kidnapping and killing of a Saudi resident.

The statement did not identify the resident, but the only known kidnapping and killing in Saudi Arabia was of American Paul Johnson Jr. last June.

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