A militant who is accused of killing two police officers in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, in a drive-by shooting on April 8 acted with support from the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and had served time in a US jail, Saudi Arabian officials said on Friday.
The militant, who has been arrested, told the police that he and an accomplice who remains at large had received guns, cash and instructions from the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the officials said.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency identified the man who was arrested as Yazid Mohammed Abdulrahman Abu Nayan, 23, a Saudi Arabian. The authorities announced a reward of more than US$250,000 for information leading to the arrest of the man suspected of being his accomplice, Nawaf al-Enezi.
The arrest of Abu Nayan came three years after he stood trial in the US for belligerent behavior aboard a commercial airliner bound for Houston from Portland, Oregon, that caused it to return to Portland for an emergency landing, according to court documents.
On the 2012 flight, Abu Nayan lost his temper when he was not able to sit next to a friend and started hitting flight attendants and shouting about Osama bin Laden, according to court documents and fellow passengers.
Passengers restrained him, and he was bound with plastic cuffs until the plane returned to Portland, where he was arrested and later put on trial. After two months in jail, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served. He returned to Saudi Arabia soon afterward.
Saudi Ministry of Interior official Colonel Omer al-Zalal, confirmed that the Saudi government knew of Abu Nayan’s past. Saudi officials were quoted at the time of his arrest in the US as saying that Abu Nayan had psychological problems.
Abu Nayan appears to be one of a small group of Saudi Arabians who have heeded calls by the Islamic State to stage attacks inside Saudi Arabia, which has joined the US-led air campaign against the group.
Saudi Arabia has faced a number of attacks linked to the Islamic State since the group seized territory in Iraq last year and in Syria in 2013.
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