Al Qaida operatives killed in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia

Thursday, February 12, 2004

NICOSIA A key Al Qaida operative has been assassinated in Lebanon.

Mohammed Shreidi, linked to the Al Qaida-aligned Usbat Al Ansar, was shot dead by unidentified assailants on Wednesday in the Ein Hilwe refugee camp. Usbat has used Ein Hilwe as its key base of operations since 2001.

Shreidi, 18, was the son of Hisham Shreidi, the founder of Usbat. He was killed in Ein Hilwe in 1991.

The Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, which controls Ein Hilwe, is believed to have shot Mohammed, the last surviving son in the Shreidi family. Fatah and Usbat have been feuding for the last two years amid a campaign of bombings and shootouts in Ein Hilwe, Middle East Newsline reported.

Fatah sources has blamed Usbat for several bombings and other attacks in Ein Hilwe. They include four bombings in the refugee camp on Sunday in which nobody was injured.

In July 2003, Mohammed's brother, Abdullah Shreidi, died after an assassination attempt two months earlier. Abdullah led the Usbat-aligned Nur Al Ansar faction in the camp, with a population of 75,000.

In an unrelated development, Al Qaida said Saudi Arabia has killed a leading operative. A pro-Al Qaida website identified the operative as Amer Al Shihri, cited as one of the top 26 fugitives wanted by the kingdom.

The website said Al Shihri was killed in a gun battle in a Riyad neighborhood and was secretly buried in the desert. Saudi authorities later located the body and conducted DNA tests to determine its identity.

On Thursday, British Airways canceled flights to Saudi Arabia and the United States scheduled for next week in wake of an alert of an Al Qaida attack. A BA statement said the cancellation came in response to a request by the British government.

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