Saudi Arabia Al-Qaeda Head Killed
Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi, head of al Qaeda’s Saudi Arabia operation, was killed by Saudi police today.
Police raids touched off fierce gunbattles Thursday that killed six Islamic extremists, and authorities said the dead included al-Qaida’s leader in Saudi Arabia, whose hideout was found to hold the head of a murdered American last summer. Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi, the kingdom’s top fugitive, had led local al-Qaida operations since his predecessor was killed by police a year ago during a crackdown on religious militants in the homeland of Osama bin Laden and most of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers.
Al-Aoofi was believed involved in the June 2004 kidnapping and beheading of engineer Paul M. Johnson Jr., whose body was shown in photos on the Internet. A few weeks after the slaying, police found Johnson’s head in a freezer at an apartment that had been used by al-Aoofi.
The former Saudi prison guard was one of only two people still at large from a list of 26 most-wanted militants that was issued in December 2003. The remaining militant is another Saudi, Talib Saud Abdullah al-Talib. The others have either been captured or killed.
One suspects a lot more terrorists will have to be killed before al Qaeda’s operations in the Kingdom will abate. Still, any progress is welcome news.