news services
updated 7/1/2004 5:37:22 PM ET 2004-07-01T21:37:22

For the second time in two days, Saudi police killed a militant in a shootout Thursday in Riyadh, witnesses and Al Arabiya television said.

Al Arabiya, which is Saudi-owned, said police shot and killed two militants in the north of the capital, but witnesses in the city’s Nakheel area said only one militant had been killed in the gunbattle. Al Arabiya said two policemen were also wounded.

Scores of policemen and security forces cordoned off the area, a Reuters reporter said.

Wednesday, security forces killed a logistics operative for the Saudi wing of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network, security sources and the Interior Ministry said.

A ministry statement identified the dead militant as Fahd bin Ali al-Ghabalan and said he was killed after a shootout and car chase through the capital.

Two al-Qaida-linked safe houses were also raided and large quantities of explosives, weapons, communication and computer equipment were seized, it said, adding that a number of militants had been wounded but had escaped.

The clashes came after Saudi King Fahd offered last week not to execute militant fugitives who surrendered to police within a month. They would still face trial, however.

Militant apologizes on TV
Separately, Saudi militant Othman Hadi Al Maqboul al-Amri, who surrendered Monday, went on state television to say he regretted his past and to urge his comrades to turn themselves in, as well.

“This is not a ploy. It is a generous amnesty which they [militants] should not hesitate to take and surrender,” said al-Amri, who had primarily been involved in smuggling weapons.

During the past year, Saudi Arabia has been rocked by suicide bombings, gunbattles and kidnappings targeting foreign workers. The attacks have been blamed on al-Qaida and its sympathizers. Al-Qaida wants to topple the Saudi royal family and replace it with its own Islamic government.

At least 12 of the 26 militants on a state-issued most wanted list are dead or in custody.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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