Al-Qaida replaces slain leader

June 20, 2004 at 11:01 AM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, June 20 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia has already replaced slain leader Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin with Saleh al-Oufi, the Islamist Web site Voice of Jihad said Sunday.

CNN reported al-Oufi, a former prison guard, is on Saudi Arabia's list of its 26 most wanted terrorists.

Saudi security sources told CNN al-Oufi lacks some of the operational experience of al-Muqrin, who was killed Friday in a gun battle with Saudi security officers after the beheading of American hostage Paul Johnson Jr.

The al-Qaida cell has claimed responsibility for Johnson's June 12 kidnapping. Al-Qaida threatened to kill him unless the Saudis release al-Qaida prisoners and told Westerners to leave the kingdom.

Saturday, the Saudi Al-Qaida cell reportedly vowed to continue its "jihad," or holy war, because it has promised God it will do so.

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