Saudis Raid Al Qaeda, Find Paul Johnson’s Head

CNN – Saudis find U.S. hostage’s head

The head of slain U.S. hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr., who was kidnapped and beheaded in Saudi Arabia last month, has been found in a Riyadh villa, a Saudi Interior Ministry official said. The head was discovered in a freezer during raids against militants that began Tuesday night. Weapons and ammunition were found in the same villa. A U.S. Embassy official said the Johnson family was being notified and that U.S. officials were working closely with the Saudis in the investigation. Johnson, 49, was working as an engineer for Lockheed Martin in Riyadh when he was abducted by al Qaeda militants on June 12. He worked on Apache attack helicopters and had lived in Saudi Arabia for more than a decade.

Tuesday night, Saudi security forces, police and national guard units staged a major operation against suspected al Qaeda militants in the capital, killing at least two and arresting the wife of the fifth-most-wanted man in the kingdom, the Saudi Interior Ministry said. Three other suspected militants were wounded in the operation, the ministry said. The ministry would not confirm that among the dead and wounded may be Saleh al-Oufi, the current leader of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Al-Oufi’s wife was arrested in the operation and three of his children were detained, the ministry said. There were other women in the house and they also were detained, it said. Al-Oufi, a former prison guard, is fifth on Saudi Arabia’s list of most-wanted terrorists.

At the center of the cordon was what sources described as a major safehouse, which contained light weapons and homemade explosives. Heavy exchanges of gunfire took place near the house, and al-Oufi’s wife was arrested inside, the security sources said. The sources said it’s believed the raid disrupted a planned operation. . . . 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.

It continues to look as if the Saudi government has gotten serious about fighting al Qaeda.

Update: ABC (AP) – Head of Slain American Hostage Found

The head of slain American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr., who was kidnapped and beheaded by militants in Saudi Arabia last month, was found in a raid on a militant hideout in the Saudi capital, the Saudi Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

In a statement, broadcast on Saudi al-Ekhbariya television monitored in Cairo, the Interior Ministry said the head was found in a freezer in an apartment. The statement said the rest of the body was not found.

(via Paul at Wizbang)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. VWRC says:

    They captured a Head!
    AND killed the terroists not on their payroll (the psychos they couldn’t control)!!!!

    Who got away???

    They arrested Women & Kids!!!!
    I’m sure They’ll spill the beans on Osama’s deepest, secret plots?

    When will ANY administration finally admit that the House of Saud is a “clear and present danger to the U.S.”?

    We want their oil? We take their oil!!!!

    I say a vast glass parking lot spotted with derricks!!