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Saudis: Killed suspected militant had ties to al Qaeda

By Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
  • The militant was disguised as a woman, officials say
  • He was shot Saturday about 400 miles from Riyadh
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Al Qaeda

(CNN) -- A suspected militant who was disguised as a woman when shot and killed at a Saudi Arabia checkpoint last week was wanted by security authorities for ties to al Qaeda, according to Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry.

The incident -- which happened on Saturday about 400 miles southeast of the capital of Riyadh -- began when two people in a car, thought to be a man and a woman, were asked to step out and present their identification cards.

The one who appeared to be a woman was actually a man in disguise. According to Interior Ministry officials, the disguised man opened fire on Saudi security forces after stepping out of the car and was then killed. The other person was arrested.

The Saudi Interior Ministry, in a statement Monday, said the man who was killed was identified as Mohammed Essam Taher Baghdadi. The Saudi national had "been sought by security authorities because of his affiliation to the deviant group and his involvement in criminal activities," the statement said.

After the shooting occurred, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki told CNN that al Qaeda was suspected to be behind the incident.

"There is a strong suspicion that al Qaeda is related to this incident, especially because of the techniques the men used -- specifically that one of them was wearing women's clothes while having someone else driving the car and looking normal," Al-Turki said.

In October 2009, two men dressed as women were slain by Saudi security forces, Al-Turki said. That incident occurred in a location where al Qaeda elements are intercepted.