RIYADH (Asharq Al-Awsat and Agencies) – Saudi police on Wednesday shot dead a militant suspected of killing five policemen in the kingdom’s Muslim heartland a day earlier, the Saudi Interior Ministry said.
Another gunman, on a most wanted list of militants linked to al Qaeda, also died in custody on Wednesday after being wounded during a shootout with police following Tuesday’s attack in the northern province of Qassim, the site of several shootouts with al Qaeda-linked militants.
“There is one (other) terrorist killed today,” a ministry spokesman said. “He will be subject to some tests, like DNA, to confirm his identity and to see whether he is on the list of wanted criminals and if he was linked to yesterday’s crime.”
He said the shooting took place almost in the same area as Tuesday’s incident”.
Saudi Arabia has been battling a two-year wave of bombings and shootings by al-Qaeda supporters. The last major attacks took place nearly a year ago and security forces have since killed several leading militants in clashes.
Gunmen on Tuesday killed three of the policeman after driving their car into a checkpoint. They also shot dead two policemen on patrol in the nearby town of Buraidah.
Police shot and wounded one of the militants and an Interior Ministry statement identified him as Mohammed Abdulrahman al-Suwaylimi, who was on a list of 36 wanted militants linked to al-Qaeda.
Suwaylimi later died in custody. Security sources said he was an Internet specialist who helped the Saudi wing of al Qaeda post statements on the Web.
Saudi officials reported in September that police had killed al Suwaylimi with four others in gun battles in Dammam. But soon afterwards, al Suwaylimi released an audiotape on the internet saying he was still alive.
An Interior Ministry statement issued earlier said police found a large cache of weapons, including automatic rifles and pistols, in the militants’ car.
The gunmen were also carrying more than 425,000 riyals ($113,000) as well as forged licence plates and identity cards.