Skip to comments.Terror Suspect (killed by Saudi police) Reportedly Had Bin Laden Letter
Posted on 06/03/2003 6:58:48 AM PDT by dead
RIYADH (Reuters) - A suspected Saudi militant who was killed by police earlier this week was carrying a letter allegedly written by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) about six months ago, a local newspaper said on Tuesday.
Al-Watan daily quoted what it called "informed" sources as saying police had found the hand-written letter signed by bin Laden in the pocket of Youssef Saleh al-Eiery, who was named among a 19-member gang suspected of having ties to al Qaeda.
If authenticated, the letter could provide evidence possibly linking bin Laden's al Qaeda -- Washington's prime suspect in the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities -- to suspected militants behind last month's triple suicide bombings in Riyadh which killed 35 people, mostly foreigners.
The Interior Ministry has said that Eiery belonged to the 19-member gang, which authorities in Saudi Arabia have blamed for the May 12 attacks.
Saudi Arabia has so far arrested 21 people suspected of involvement in the attacks but it is not clear whether Eiery was personally involved in these bombings.
Eiery was shot dead on Saturday after he and another Saudi man, who is now in custody, threw hand grenades at a police patrol that was pursuing them. Two policemen were also killed in the incident in the northern Saudi Arabia.
Al-Watan said some passages in the letter, dated to December, were not clear because it was stained by Eiery's blood. It said the note congratulated a certain person on the occasion of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr feast and commended accomplishments of groups under his command.
In February, an Islamist Web site broadcast a purported audio tape from bin Laden in which he urged Muslims to fight the United States to avert the war on Iraq (news - web sites).
Sure beats giving them money.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A suspected al-Qaida operative killed by Saudi police last weekend was carrying a 6-month-old letter from Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), a Saudi newspaper reported Tuesday.
The man, identified as Yosif Salih Fahd Ala'yeeri, was among 19 militants wanted in connection with a weapons cache found shortly before the May 12 suicide attacks at foreign housing complexes in Riyadh, which killed 26 victims including nine Americans.
Police found the letter on his body after shooting him during a car chase Saturday, Al-Watan newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.
"The sources revealed that a folded handwritten letter, stained with blood, signed with the name bin Laden ... was found in the pocket of the killed," the paper reported.
It said the letter was a season's greetings on the Muslim Eid al-Fitr feast with an Islamic calendar date that corresponds to Dec. 15, 2002.
It also gave a "blessing of the achievements of the groups associated with (bin Laden)," the report said, adding that the address the letter was intended for was unreadable, because it was stained with Ala'yeeri's blood.
The man also had explosives strapped to his body and was carrying four identification cards, a driver's license that did not belong to him, and a global positioning device, the newspaper said.
Officials in Saudi Arabia could not be reached for comment. A call Tuesday by The Associated Press to the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington seeking comment was not immediately returned. There was no way to independently verify if the letter was from bin Laden.
Ala'yeeri was among 19 suspected al-Qaida operatives wanted in connection with a weapons cache discovered in the capital May 6, six days before the suicide attacks in Riyadh.
Nine attackers died in the bombings; and of six bodies identified, four were among the 19 named in the weapons cache case. One suspect surrendered a few days after their names were announced. Saudi authorities were still searching for the remaining 13, including an Iraqi with Kuwaiti and Canadian citizenship.
Saturday's car chase began at a checkpoint outside Turba, 124 miles north of the northern Saudi city of Hail.
Ala'yeeri and a companion threw a hand grenade at police during the chase, killing two officers and injuring two others, an Interior Ministry official said. The companion, identified as Abdullah bin Ibrahim bin Abdullah Alshabrami, was arrested.
In an interview with the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Ala'yeeri's father said he had not seen him for years.
"He is dead now, in a way that we wouldn't have hoped to see any of our country's sons go," Saleh Ala'yeeri said from his home in Dammam, in the eastern part of the kingdom.
RIYADH, 4 June 2003 A suspected militant killed by police last weekend was carrying a six-month-old letter from Osama Bin Laden, Al-Watan reported yesterday.
The body of the man identified as Yousuf Saleh Fahd Al-Ayeeri, one of 19 militants wanted for alleged ties to Al-Qaeda, was searched after he was shot dead following a police chase Saturday, the newspaper reported, quoting informed sources.
The sources revealed that a folded handwritten letter, stained with blood, signed with the name Bin Laden ... was found in the pocket of the killed, the paper reported.
Al-Watan said some passages in the letter, dated to December, were not clear because it was stained with Al-Ayeeris blood. It said the note congratulated a certain person on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr and commended accomplishments of groups under his command.
The addressee could not be read because of blood on the letter, the newspaper said.
Al-Watan said police worked for hours to detonate explosives Al-Ayeeri had strapped to his body. He was also carrying four identification cards, a drivers license that does not belong to him, and a global positioning device, the paper said.
Officials could not be reached for comment.
Al-Ayeeri was among 19 Al-Qaeda operatives wanted by Saudi authorities following the discovery of a weapons cache in the capital on May 6. The government said at the time that the militants, 17 of whom were Saudis, were believed to take orders from Al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden.
The group was also linked to the May 12 bombings at foreign housing compounds in Riyadh that killed 35 people, including nine attackers.
Four of the six identified bombers were among the 19 wanted, according to Saudi authorities.
Thirteen of the group are still sought by the authorities, including an Iraqi with Kuwaiti and Canadian citizenship.
Saturdays car chase began at a checkpoint outside Turba, 200 km north of the northern city of Hail.
The Interior Ministry official said that Al-Ayeeri and his companion threw a hand grenade at the police during the chase, killing two officers and injuring two others.
The other passenger was identified as Abdullah ibn Ibrahim ibn Abdullah Al-Shabrami, who escaped but was later arrested north of Hail, the ministry said.
Also, Saudi authorities in the southern province of Najran foiled a large operation to sell (illegal) weapons last Thursday, a statement by the ministry issued on Monday said.
How the local press is carrying the story
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