Saudis capture killer of French engineer

Friday, November 26, 2004

ABU DHABI Saudi authorities have captured the suspected killer of a French engineer who worked for Thales in the Arab kingdom.

Saudis security sources and media reports said authorities captured an Al Qaida insurgent who confessed to the killing of a French engineer on Sept. 26. The sources said two Al Qaida operatives were involved in the shooting death of Laurent Barbot in Jedda.

Barbot, who worked for a naval project for Thales, was the first French national killed in Saudi Arabia in the Al Qaida campaign against Westerners. Al Qaida has usually targeted British and U.S. nationals.

The suspect who submitted the confession was identified as Hamed Al Saadi, deemed the commander of an Al Qaida-aligned Al Jamia cell. Al Jamia was named after a neighborhood in Jedda.

The sources said Al Saadi confessed to shooting the 45-year-old Barbot with a rifle. A suspected accomplice, identified only as Samiri, was said to have planned the killing and prepared a safe house.

So far, the Interior Ministry has not announced the capture of Barbot's killer. Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Mansour Al Turki said the investigation into the Barbot killing has not been completed.

The Saudi daily Okaz reported that Saadi was one of three people arrested during a raid by security forces in Jedda's Al Jamia neighborhood.

The raid prompted a shootout in which an Al Qaida operative was killed and five officers were injured.

Okaz reported that security forces believe they found the weapon used in the killing of Barbot. So far, more than 170 people have been killed in the Al Qaida campaign, which began in May 2003.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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