Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Major terrorist bust in Saudi Arabia

This is a huge bust but for some reason CNN decided to use a headline about hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr's head being found in a freezer at the scene.

Saudi forces Tuesday night launched a major operation in Riyadh against suspected al Qaeda militants in the northern part of the capital. Along with the two deaths, three others were wounded and the wife of the fifth-most-wanted man in the kingdom was arrested.

A Saudi security source believes the presence of the head and weapons confirms the belief of investigators that the villa was the major base and logistical support center for the al Qaeda cell operating in the area.

Here is what they found at the site:

One SAM-7 rocket; two RPG rockets and a launcher; nine pieces of RDX plastic explosives; elements for homemade explosives including ammonium powder and nitrate; three high-explosive hand grenades; 11 other hand grenades; fuses and detonators.

In addition, 22 Kalashnikovs; 11 handguns; four rifles; more than 30,000 rounds of ammunition; cell phones and other communications equipment; prepaid calling cards; documents; video cameras; computers; and cash amounting to $96,080.

And there was a major take down...

As for the raids, the Interior Ministry would not confirm that among the dead and wounded may be Saleh al-Oufi, the current leader of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.

But security sources said one of those killed in the shootout was Eissa al-Aushan. He was on the list of 26 most-wanted terrorists sought by the Saudi government. A security source described him as an ideologue for the group.

What were these guys up to?

Security sources said it is believed that the raid disrupted the suspected terrorists as they planned an operation, and that the ensuing deaths and injuries neutralized the immediate colleagues of al-Oufi.

The Saudis are not done yet.

Sources told CNN that while forces surrounded the suspected militant safe house, a group of suspects believed to be colleagues of the militants tried to break through the police cordon to reach their comrades, but they were turned back.

That group was pursued and has now been surrounded. There was an "ongoing operation" to try to capture them.

And how did the Saudis find out about these terrorists?

There is speculation that the operation was undertaken based on information gathered from the interrogation of some 61 people who have taken advantage of the government's offer of leniency for wanted militants.

Now I wonder what is on those computers and what can we learn from the "other communications" equipment?

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