Two militants killed in farm raid were on wanted terrorist list

Monday, August 4th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ Two militants killed in a shootout with Saudi police last week were part of a cell of 19 suspected terrorists linked to al-Qaida and thought to be behind the deadly May suicide bombings in Riyadh, a newspaper reported Monday.

The Al-Watan daily, quoting ``informed sources,'' identified the men as Ahmed bin Nasser al-Dekhiel and Hamad bin Abdullah al-Aslami.

The men were killed during the July 28 raid on a farm in the al-Qassim area, 220 miles northwest of the capital, Riyadh. Four other suspected militants and two police officers also died.

The two were on a list of 19 suspected militants sought since police uncovered a large arms cache in the capital, Riyadh, on May 6. The deaths mean at least 10 of the suspects on the list have been killed or captured.

Police have said the group was directly in touch with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network and was behind the May 12 Riyadh suicide bombings, which killed 25 people as well as nine attackers.

Last month, the No. 1 figure on the list _ al-Qaida member Turki Nasser al-Dandani _ was killed along with three other militants in a 5-hour gunbattle with police in northern Saudi Arabia.

The suspected mastermind of the May 12 attacks and another member of the 19, Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi, surrendered to authorities in July.

Four others from the 19 were identified as among the nine bombers killed in the May 12 attacks, and others from the list may also be among the dead. One of the 19 was killed in a police chase in June and was reportedly carrying a letter written by bin Laden. Another suspect turned himself in shortly before the Riyadh bombings.

The 19 comprised 17 Saudis, a Yemeni and an Iraqi with Kuwaiti and Canadian citizenship.

Last month, police arrested 16 suspects linked to al-Qaida, and unearthed an arsenal of weapons that included 20 tons of bomb-making chemicals, detonators, rocket-propelled grenades and rifles from farms in al-Qassim, Riyadh and the Eastern province.