Saudi Forces Kill al-Qaida Leader
By ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRI, Associated Press Writer 1 minute ago
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Security forces killed the al-Qaida terrorist group's
leader in Saudi Arabia during a fierce gun battle Sunday in the capital,
Riyadh, an Interior Ministry official told this country's official news
Younis Mohammed Ibrahim al-Hayari, a Moroccan, was killed during a raid by
security forces on an area where suspected militants were hiding, an Interior
Ministry official was quoted by Saudi Press Agency as saying.
The clashes took place in the Rawdah district, an upscale neighborhood in
eastern Riyadh, said Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Mansour al-Turki.
The unidentified official quoted by SPA said al-Hayari headed Osama bin
Laden's al-Qaida terror network in the kingdom, which has been ravaged by
terrorist attacks during more than two years of violence.
"He (al-Hayari) was nominated by his peers, following the death of those
preceding him, to be the head of sedition and corruption in the land," the
official said in the SPA report.
Al-Hayari topped a list issued Tuesday of 36 most-wanted militants sought for
participation in previous terror attacks in the kingdom dating back to 2003.
On Wednesday, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef warned about the
possibility of more attacks.
Al-Hayari was believed to have had close ties to Abdul Karim al-Majati, an
al-Qaida leader killed in April 2005.
The Interior Ministry official said security forces staged two simultaneous
operations in eastern Riyadh and killed al-Hayari after a shoot-out, while
arresting three other suspected militants who were not identified.
The report said six security force personnel were slightly injured in the gun
battles while weapons, munitions, communications equipment, computers and
documents were seized at both locations.
According to information released by Saudi authorities earlier this week,
al-Hayari entered Saudi Arabia five years ago for the annual hajj pilgrimage
season but remained in the country with his wife and young daughter.
Saudi officials said al-Hayari had regularly disguised himself to avoid
capture and had been previously spotted in Riyadh.
This oil-rich kingdom has suffered a series of heavy terrorist attacks since
May 2003 when suicide bombers attacked three housing estates for foreigners in
the capital Riyadh. The kingdom then launched a wave of retaliatory raids
against the militants, and issued a list of 26 most wanted in December 2003.
Security forces have killed or captured 23 of the 26 people on that list.