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Terrorist Responsible for US Hostage Beheading Killed, Saudi Officials Say - 2004-06-19

Saudi Arabian security forces say they have killed the suspected leader of an al-Qaida terrorist cell that claimed responsibility for beheading American hostage Paul Johnson.

Saudi security personnel say they tracked down and killed Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin and two other terrorist suspects in a firefight in Riyadh Friday after witnesses spotted Mr. Johnson's body being dumped from a car.

Saudi state television broadcast pictures, Saturday, it said were of the slain al-Qaida leader's body.

However, a statement posted on the Internet and attributed to the militant group insisted the Saudi claim was false.

President Bush says the "barbaric" murder of Mr. Johnson who worked on Apache helicopters for the Lockheed Martin Corp. shows the "evil nature of the enemy" the world faces in the war on terror. He vowed the United States will not be intimidated by such extremists.