al-Qaida Head Justifies Targeting Johnson

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- The head of the al-Qaida cell that killed Paul M. Johnson Jr. justified targeting the American engineer in a message written before he himself was killed in a gunbattle with Saudi security forces.

In an article posted Sunday on a Web site used by Islamic radicals, Abdulaziz al-Moqrin called Johnson "an infidel, a warrior of the military."

Johnson, who had worked on Apache helicopters for Lockheed Martin in Saudi Arabia, "works for military aviation and he belongs to the American army, which kills, tortures and harms Muslims everywhere, which supports enemies (of Islam) in Palestine, Philippines, Kashmir," al-Moqrin wrote.

The article, posted on the Web site "Sout al-Jihad," or "Voice of Holy War," was written after the kidnapping but apparently before Johnson was killed on Friday.

Al-Moqrin replied to critics urging the release of Johnson, saying: "Do those people want to see this infidel carry on the killing of the children and the raping of the women in Baghdad and Kabul?"

Al-Moqrin, believed to be the top al-Qaida figure in Saudi Arabia, was killed along with three other militants in a Riyadh gunbattle Friday night, hours after photos of Johnson's body and severed head were posted on Web site.


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