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Saudi Police Kill Leading al-Qaida Suspect - 2004-03-16


Saudi officials say two suspected Islamic militants, including one thought to be a senior al-Qaida operative, have been killed in a shoot-out with security forces in the capital.

An Interior Ministry statement said the gunfight erupted in a Riyadh neighborhood late Monday, when the suspects riding in a vehicle refused to stop at a security check point.

The statement identified one of those killed as Khalid Ali Hajj, a Yemeni believed to be a leading al-Qaida operative. The other militant was identified as Ibrahim bin Abd-al-Aziz Al-Mazini, a Saudi national.

Saudi officials say police also retrieved hand grenades, firearms, as well as $138,000 worth of cash.

Officials say Khalid Hajj was high on Saudi Arabia's list of 26 most wanted militants in connection with last year's bombings in Riyadh that killed more than 50 people.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.