Five Saudi police shot dead


Saudi Arabia: Five Saudi policemen were killed yesterday during a shooting spree by a gunman whom security sources said was a wanted militant and who was later arrested.

An interior ministry statement said a man was arrested after shooting three policemen at a checkpoint in the ultra-conservative northern Qassim province, the site of several shoot-outs with al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Earlier, the same gunman had killed two policemen on patrol near the northern town of Buraida.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television named the man as Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Suweilmi and said he was on a list of 36 wanted militants linked to al-Qaeda.

It said al-Suweilmi was an internet specialist who had helped the Saudi wing of al-Qaeda to post statements on the web.

The interior ministry statement said he had been wounded during his arrest. It said more details would be provided later.

Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti court has sentenced to death six suspected militants linked to al-Qaeda attacks in the country.

The six were among 37 Islamists charged with links to militants in neighbouring Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Police said some had confessed to planning suicide attacks against US military and western targets in Kuwait.

A Reuters reporter said some of the other suspects received jail terms of between four months to 15 years, one received a life term, and seven were acquitted.

Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty for about 20 suspects for four shoot-outs in January in which nine Islamists and four security personnel were killed. Eleven of the 37 remain at large.

Used as the main launch pad for the 2003 war in Iraq, Kuwait hosts up to 30,000 US troops and is the main transit route into Iraq. About 13,000 US citizens live in Kuwait. - (Reuters)