Al-Qaida suspect dies in Saudi blast

An explosion in a house in the Saudi capital killed suspected member of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terror network

An explosion in a house in the Saudi capital killed suspected member of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terror network

The blast, caused by an explosive device, occurred in the al-Jazirah district in eastern Riyadh, said the Interior Ministry.

A security official in Riyadh, said the victim of the blast might have been a member of al-Qaida.

“We are investigating the possibility that the individual might have been a member of al-Qaida, or a sympathiser, and he might have been preparing an explosive device which blew up prematurely,” he said.

An Interior Ministry ministry official said the victim was not carrying any identification.

Police found three hand grenades, 14 rifles, a gun, ammunition and explosives in the house where the blast occurred.

Saudi Arabia was the homeland of 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers.

Last month, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef said 90 Saudis had been sent for trial for alleged al-Qaida links and that 250 suspects were under investigation. The announcement was the first word of Saudi court proceedings connected to post-September 11 crackdowns.

The Saudi government blames a string of car bombings targeting Westerners that started in November 2000 on gangs trafficking in alcohol, which is forbidden in the kingdom. Western diplomats insist the explosions are the work of Muslim extremists.

Bin Laden, whose Saudi citizenship was revoked in 1994, opposes the Saudi royal family and demands the departure of American troops who are there under a defence pact, objecting to the presence of foreign troops in the land where Islam was founded.

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