2003 News Story

Death of top Al-Qaeda fugitive

[Washington, DC] – The Ministry of Interior has announced that Turki Nasser Mishaal Aldandany died today in the northern province of Al-Jouf as Saudi security forces closed in on him. Aldandany was the number one figure on the wanted list released by Saudi authorities following the discovery of a large arms cache on May 6. He was one of the top Al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia and one of the masterminds of the May 12 Riyadh bombings.

A national manhunt for Aldandany had been underway and at 5:00 am this morning security forces surrounded the house where he was hiding along with four other wanted individuals (two Saudi nationals and two Kuwaiti nationals). Security forces evacuated the surrounding area and used loudspeakers to call for the surrender of the suspects. One of the Saudi suspects did, and he is now in custody.

The others immediately began firing machine guns and lobbing grenades at security officers. In the ensuing gun battle, Aldandany and three others were killed. Authorities later also arrested three accomplices (two Saudi nationals and one Syrian national) who had been trying to smuggle the terrorists out of the country.

Today’s events follow other major happenings including Tuesday’s arrest of Zafer bin Abdulrahman Al-Shehri, the arrest last week of top Al-Qaeda operative Ali Abdulrahman Said Alfagsi Al-Ghamdi (also know as Abu Bakr), and the death on May 31 of Yousif Salih Fahad Al-Ayeeri (also known as “Swift Sword”), a major Al-Qaeda operational planner and fundraiser who was killed while fleeing from Saudi security forces.

Prior to today’s events, Saudi Arabia had arrested 125 terrorist suspects since May 12.  This is in addition to the more than 300 arrested since September 11, 2001.

According to Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan:  “Saudi Arabia is determined to crush the terrorists and is doing everything to ensure the safety and security of its citizens and residents.”