Saudis kill Al Qaeda leader from Morocco who they claim is on list "of last group of 36 sharing the same ideology"
July 3, 2005
MIM: As usual the Saudis are whirling faster then dervishes on speed to show that they have killed the top Al Qaeda operative in the Kingdom. It is also a mystery as to how the Moroccan national was able to stay undetected in the country for five years after overstaying his Haj trip to Mecca . Hayari would also have stood out because of his background and different Arabic dialect. His five year sojourn in Saudi Arabia (with his wife and children), indicates that he was 'working', despite the fact that he appears to have been there illegally
It must have taken years of research by Saudi funded government security analysts to spot the differences between the two pictures of Al Hayari and decide to pursue him. Lucky for the Saudis that the 'security forces' were assisted by the alert citizenry who will probably be expected to share the $267,000 to $1.87 million bounty with those who killed Al Hayari in his hideout. According to the article the "Saudi security forces were moving in on the suspects based on citizens tips when the suspected militants threw homemade explosives at them". Which begs the question as to who tipped off the terrorists ?
Saudi Arabia says kills top al Qaeda militant
By Dominic Evans
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's security forces killed a most-wanted al Qaeda leader in a clash in the capital Riyadh early on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said.
Moroccan national Younis Mohammad Ibrahim al-Hayyari, accused of involvement in a series of recent attacks in the world's biggest oil exporter, died after exchanging fire and hurling hand grenades at police, it said.
Hayyari's name was at the top of a list of 36 al Qaeda suspects announced by Riyadh last week. The ministry said he had helped prepare explosives and had played a part in several attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia.
"He was recently nominated by his colleagues to be the leader of strife and corruption in the land, after the death of his predecessors," the statement said.
Saudi Arabia has been battling suspected al Qaeda militants since May 2003, when they launched their campaign of violence with triple suicide bombings at expatriate housing compounds in the Riyadh.
Interior Minister Prince Nayef said the operation was the result of extensive surveillance by Saudi security forces, and pledged to pursue other suspected militants.
"What happened today was the result of the effort of the previous period and God willing, we will reach the rest using the same method," he told journalists after visiting wounded security forces in hospital.
Al Qaeda is fighting to expel non-Muslims from the Gulf state, which is home to Islam's two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, and topple its pro-Western absolute monarchy.
The attacks have killed 91 foreigners and Saudi civilians and wounded 510 people, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to London and former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal said last week.
Forty-one security force members have been killed and 218 wounded, while 112 militants have been killed and 25 wounded, he added. He estimated material losses at 1 billion riyals.
There have been fewer attacks this year, but last month attackers gunned down a senior security officer in Mecca and diplomats say three helicopters were set on fire at a military base north of Riyadh.
Successive leaders of the Saudi wing of al Qaeda have been killed since 2003 and Saudi officials say their replacements are increasingly inexperienced. But Western counterterrorism experts say al Qaeda has shown a resilience and ability to regenerate.
One other man was arrested at the scene of Saturday's clash and two others surrendered without a struggle in a simultaneous police raid in the same district of eastern Riyadh. Six policemen were lightly wounded, the ministry said.
Prince Nayef described Hayyari as a "dangerous man" but said others on the wanted list were as dangerous. The three captured men were not on the wanted list, he added without elaborating.
Last week, Saudi Arabia issued the new wanted list of al Qaeda suspects -- most of whom were Saudis but some were from Chad, Yemen, Morocco and Mauritania. Fifteen were believed to be at large inside Saudi Arabia, while 21 were outside the kingdom.
It offered a bounty of up to 7 million riyals for anyone who helped authorities capture a militant or foil a planned attack.
One of the 36 suspects, Fayez Ayoub, flew back to Riyadh on Friday and surrendered to authorities. Newspapers have reported that at least two others on the list have already been killed in neighbouring Iraq, where insurgents are battling U.S. forces.
All but two men on a previous list of 26 wanted militants, published in December 2003, are believed dead or in custody.
Three other unidentified suspects were arrested, and weapons, ammunition, computers and documents were seized, he said.
The clashes took place in the Rawdah district, an upscale neighborhood in eastern Riyadh, Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said.
The unidentified official quoted by SPA said al-Hayari headed Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida 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, and 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 that more attacks were possible.
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 conducted two simultaneous operations in eastern Riyadh to capture suspects and killed al-Hayari after a shoot-out, while arresting three other suspected militants who were not identified.
It said the first operation ended without incident and with two suspects surrendering. But in the second raid, militants launched a gun battle with troops and lobbed grenades before al-Hayari was killed and another extremist was arrested.
"The two operations have concluded, but we will continue to pursue all the terrorists," al-Turki said.
The report said six security force personnel were slightly wounded in the gun battles while weapons, munitions, communications equipment, computers and documents were seized at both scenes.
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, 36, 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 figures on that list.