The man believed to be al-Qaeda’s leader in Saudi Arabia has reportedly been killed by security forces in the kingdom. The Saudi Interior Ministry says fugitive Saleh al-Awfi died in a shootout in the holy city of Medina.
In Riyadh, a number of other militant suspects were also reported dead in a fresh anti-terrorism crackdown by Saudi authorities. The gun battle in Medina came just hours before a visit by newly-crowned King Abdullah, who has spearheaded efforts to combat al-Qaeda. Since May 2003 the group has staged suicide bombings and attacks against foreigners in Saudi Arabia, with the aim of toppling the pro-US monarchy and expelling Westerners from the birthplace of Islam.