Saudi Arabia: Al-Muqrin Killed?

2 MINS READJun 18, 2004 | 22:16 GMT
According to unconfirmed reports from Saudi media, al Qaeda's senior commander in Saudi Arabia, Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, has been killed. It is not clear if al-Muqrin —whose Fallujah Brigades/Squadron took credit for the kidnapping of American Paul Johnson — was killed before or after the discovery of Johnson's body on the northeastern outskirts of Riyadh on June 18. If al-Muqrin indeed has been killed, the timing of his death suggests that Saudi authorities had the militant leader under surveillance for some time and were aware of his whereabouts. It is unclear when authorities would have received the intelligence on al-Muqrin's location. He has been active in the kingdom for months and has increased his public profile in numerous videotapes and statements released to the press. Officials might have held off on arresting him in hopes that al-Muqrin would lead them to the place where Johnson was being held captive, or to his keepers. After it became apparent that Johnson had been killed June 18, the Saudi authorities were free to act against al-Muqrin. STRATFOR previously has noted that, as an al Qaeda military commander, al-Muqrin is replaceable. His death, if confirmed, will not be the end of al Qaeda operations inside the kingdom, nor will it end U.S. pressure on Riyadh to act against militant groups. It might shut down one or two cells operating in Riyadh and temporarily disconnect a few nodes in the network, but the movement repeatedly has proven itself resilient and is far from defeated.

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