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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Official: Al-Qaida's No. 1 in Saudi Arabia Killed by Police

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Security forces killed the al-Qaida terrorist group's leader in Saudi Arabia during a fierce gun battle Sunday in the capital, Riyadh, an Interior Ministry official told Saudi Arabia's official news agency.

Younis Mohammed Ibrahim al-Hayari, a Moroccan, was killed during a raid by security forces on an area where suspected militants were hiding, an Interior Ministry official was quoted by Saudi Press Agency as saying. The clashes took place in the Rawdah district, an upscale neighborhood in eastern Riyadh, said Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki.

The unidentified official quoted by SPA said al-Hayari headed Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network in the kingdom, which has been ravaged by terrorist attacks during more than two years of violence. "He [al-Hayari] was nominated by his peers, following the death of those preceding him, to be the head of sedition and corruption in the land," the official said in the SPA report. Al-Hayari topped a list issued Tuesday of the 36 most-wanted militants sought for participation in previous terror attacks in the kingdom dating back to 2003. On Wednesday, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef warned of the possibility of more attacks.

The Interior Ministry official said security forces conducted two simultaneous operations in eastern Riyadh to capture suspects and killed al-Hayari after a shootout, while arresting three other suspected militants who were not identified.

The report said six security personnel were injured while weapons, communications equipment and computers were seized at both scenes. According to information released by Saudi authorities earlier this week, al-Hayari entered Saudi Arabia five years ago for the annual hajj pilgrimage but remained in the country with his wife and daughter. Officials said al-Hayari had regularly disguised himself to avoid capture and had been previously spotted in Riyadh.