updated 6/28/2005 2:49:40 PM ET 2005-06-28T18:49:40

Saudi Arabia issued a new list of 36 wanted terrorists Tuesday, many of them young operatives who may have already fled abroad — possibly to Iraq — amid a fierce crackdown on al-Qaida's network in the kingdom.

Saudi authorities have been claiming success in their efforts to uproot militants who carried out a series of bloody attacks two years ago. Security forces have killed or captured 23 out of 26 figures on the first wanted terrorist list put out in December 2003.

One of the most significant figures on the new list was Mohsen al-Fadhli, 24, a man Washington considers a leader in the al-Qaida network in the Gulf region. It was the first word that al-Fadhli, a Kuwaiti, was believed to have been in Saudi Arabia and involved in attacks there.

In February, the U.S. Treasury moved to freeze al-Fadhli's finances, accusing him of providing financial and material support to terror networks run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant responsible for scores of attacks in Iraq.

Most of the men on the list, made public Tuesday on the state news agency, were in their 20s — apparently new recruits to beef up al-Qaida's depleted ranks.

Al-Fadhli is one of 21 people on the list that the Interior Ministry said were believed to have fled the kingdom after participating in terror attacks.

Terrorists may be in Iraq
Faris bin Hizam, an expert on Saudi terror groups, said it was likely that many of the 21 had slipped into Iraq to fight alongside insurgents battling Iraqi and U.S. forces.

"In the past, Afghanistan was a refuge. Now that has been replaced with Iraq. They have no other place to go," he said, adding that the Saudi government must now consider whether this group at-large was preparing for a comeback in Saudi Arabia.

Saudis have made up a significant part of the foreign mujahideen in the Iraqi insurgency, including some believed to have carried out suicide attacks.

But Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Mansour al-Turki said the suspects' current whereabouts could not be sure.

"It is very hard to speculate on whether they went to Iraq. We can't assume that. Our records show they left the kingdom, but they could be anywhere," he said.

He said that those who were outside the country were involved in terror acts and left before authorities became aware of their involvement.

The ministry offered rewards of 1 million riyals ($267,000) for information leading to the arrest of any of the suspects. The reward would be raised to 5 million riyals ($1.3 million) if more than one suspect is arrested, and to 7 million riyals ($1.8 million) if a terror act is foiled as a result of the information.

The list includes 29 Saudis, three Chadians, a Moroccan, a Kuwaiti, a Yemeni and a Mauritanian.

Wanted by the Saudis and the FBI
Younis Mohammed al-Hayari, a Moroccan and the only non-Saudi of the 15 thought to be inside the kingdom, is believed to have been closely associated with Abdul Karim al-Majati, a Moroccan killed in clashes in the kingdom in April. Al-Majati was considered one of al-Qaida's key operatives in Saudi Arabia and was wanted by the Saudis and the FBI.

Also remaining in Saudi Arabia is Fahd Faraaj al-Juwair, a 35-year-old extremist who lost two brothers in clashes with Saudi forces last year. He comes from a family known for its hard-line position against the Saudi government.

Another significant figure — listed as being abroad — was Saleh Saeed al-Btaih al-Ghamdi, a former member of the Saudi military who spent time in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, said Saudi terror experts.

Al-Ghamdi, 40, was believed to be a mid-level leader of the militant network in the kingdom, communicating between the top bosses and operatives, the experts said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

Saudi Arabia suffered a series of heavy terror attacks since May 2003 when suicide bombers attacked three housing estates for foreigners in the capital Riyadh.

Terror suspects first publicized in 2003
After the attacks, the kingdom issued its first list of 26 most wanted terror suspects in December 2003 and launched a fierce wave of raids against militant groups. That list had also included foreigners in it, mainly Moroccans and Yemenis.

Those remaining from the first list include Saleh al-Aoofi, considered to be the top leader of al-Qaida's branch in Saudi Arabia, and Talib Saud Abdullah al-Talib, both Saudis.

A third figure, Abdullah al-Roshoud — considered a top militant theologian — was said to have been killed in fighting with U.S. forces in Iraq last week, according to a Web statement issued by al-Zarqawi. But Saudi authorities have not struck him from their list because his death has not been confirmed.

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of the leader of the al-Qaida terror network, Osama bin Laden, and 16 of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

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