Saudi dissidents killed in shootout

Three men, one of them apparently a wanted dissident, have been shot dead by security forces in Riyadh.

    Saudi authorities have been cracking down on dissidents

    Witnesses said on Friday that the three were gunned down during a clash in al-Malaz district in the centre of the Saudi capital - in what has become a bloody day for the kingdom.

    The fighting broke out shortly after al-Qaida announced the execution of US citizen Paul Johnson.

    Residents said one of the dead fighters was believed to be a top wanted Saudi dissident.

    Unclear if Johnson's body found

    Shortly earlier, an AFP correspondent saw dozens of security men deployed in al-Munisiyah neighbourhood in eastern Riyadh amid reports that the body of American aeronautics engineer Paul Johnson had been dumped there. But no body was found.

    "Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula" on Friday night posted gruesome pictures on Islamist web sites showing a beheaded Johnson, with his head placed on his back as he lay in a pool of blood.

    Security forces also cordoned off two locations in the al-Rawdah neighbourhood in the eastern sector of the capital on Friday night.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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