Islamist militants kill two Saudi border guards

RIYADH Mon Nov 5, 2012 5:45pm IST

Related Topics

RIYADH (Reuters) - Al Qaeda-associated militants who had been released from Saudi prisons killed two Saudi border guards while trying to cross into Yemen early on Monday before being captured, the kingdom's interior ministry said.

The militant movement's Yemeni branch, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has several Saudis in leadership roles and has sworn to bring down the kingdom's ruling family.

Saudi Arabia has played an important role in foiling attacks planned by AQAP against international airliners, Western countries have said.

Saudi authorities have arrested thousands of suspected militants over the past decade, crushing an al Qaeda bombing campaign inside the country from 2003-06, and putting hundreds of them through a rehabilitation programme.

But several graduates of the rehabilitation programme have since emerged as leaders of AQAP in Yemen.

A ministry statement said a group of 10 Saudis and one Yemeni ambushed a Saudi border patrol just before dawn in the Sharoura sector of Najran Province, killing the two guards.

Four of the group were seriously wounded in the ambush, according to the statement issued by the Interior Ministry security spokesman and carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

It said identity papers belonging to the Saudi nationals showed they had all been previously imprisoned for crimes relating to "crimes and activities of the deviant group", as al Qaeda is officially described.

It added that they had trying to cross into Yemen, where widespread lawlessness has allowed AQAP to establish a foothold.

Earlier this year Saudi Arabia announced it had detained two al Qaeda cells in Riyadh and Jeddah that had planned bomb attacks in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia fought a brief war on its southern border with Yemen in 2009 against the country's Houthi rebel movement, which proclaims the rights of the Shi'ite Muslim Zaydi sect there. That conflict began when Houthis ambushed a Saudi patrol, killing two soldiers.

Saudi border guards have in the past also clashed with smugglers along the long, porous desert frontier.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall and Andrew Hammond; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Canada Shooting

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Fighting Islamic State

Fighting Islamic State

Iraqi Kurds approve sending fighters to aid Syrian town.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Official WHO Ebola toll near 5,000 with true number nearer 15,000.  Full Article 

Double Murder

Double Murder

Thailand tourist murder suspects retract confessions.  Full Article 

Abducted Girls

Abducted Girls

Nigeria talks with Boko Haram but no sign of girls' release.  Full Article 

Bodies In Locker

Bodies In Locker

Woman charged after 6 infant bodies found in Canadian locker.  Full Article 

Tunisia Polls

Tunisia Polls

Tunisia election tests transition from autocracy to democracy.  Full Article 

Pope's Agenda

Pope's Agenda

Pope Francis plays long game to reform Catholic Church.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage