Saudis say Sept. blast killed 3 wanted militants

RIYADH - Three wanted Saudi militants on a government list of al Qaeda sympathisers were killed in September in a blast that took place outside the country, the interior ministry said on Monday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Mon 18 Jan 2010, 9:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:40 AM

Those killed were on a list, first published last February, of 85 wanted militants believed by Saudi authorities to be outside the desert kingdom, state television reported.

“The explosion occurred at a meeting which was attended by some Saudi nationals ... DNA samples from the troubled zone where the explosion occurred revealed the identities of three Saudis who were on the list of the wanted 85,” the interior ministry said in a statement read on television.

It did not say where the militants were killed or by whom. Al Qaeda militants operate in neighbouring Iraq and in Yemen, where Riyadh fears the network will exploit instability to turn the poorest Arab country into a launchpad for attacks.

The dead men were named as Mohamed Abdulrahman al-Rashed, Fahd Saleh al-Jutaili and Sultan Radi al-Otaibi. The ministry said the three had been plotting attacks inside Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.

Saudi authorities have arrested hundreds of people in the past few years on suspicion of trying to revive militant cells and of close ties to al Qaeda.

Islamist militants launched a violent campaign to destabilise the U.S.-allied monarchy in 2003. The violence has subsided since 2006 after nearly 200 people were killed, including foreign residents, security forces and militants.

In September, the kingdom’s top anti-terrorism official Prince Mohammed bin Nayef survived with light wounds a suicide attack inside his own house by a Saudi bomber posing as a repentant militant.

A Saudi court sentenced one person to death last year in the first publicly reported sentence since al Qaeda-linked militants launched their campaign against the absolute monarchy.

Attacks included suicide bombs at housing compounds in Riyadh in 2003 and an attempt to storm the world’s biggest oil processing plant at Abqaiq in 2006.

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