American Hostage Paul Johnson Beheaded

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – The al-Qaida group that kidnapped American Paul M. Johnson Jr. posted a statement on a Web site Friday saying it killed him, and displayed still photographs on the Internet of his beheaded body.

Separately, al-Arabiya television reported Friday that Johnson had been beheaded.

Reached by telephone, an official from Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya in Dubai told The Associated Press that the news of Johnson’s death had been reported by the network’s correspondent in the Saudi capital.

CNN reported that Al-Arabiya had a video of the killing, but the network official said there was no video.

The al Qaeda kidnappers had said the Saudi government had until Friday to free jailed militants or it would kill Johnson, a Lockheed Martin employee.

“As we promised the mujahideen we have beheaded the American hostage Paul Marshall after the deadline that the mujahideen gave to the tyrannical Saudi government passed,” a statement signed by the Organization of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said on the al Islah Web site.

The Web site showed pictures of what appeared to be Johnson’s severed head resting on his body.

As noted here earlier in the week Johnson’s fate was sealed from the beginning and he may have even been dead for days. The demands of the kidnappers were a ruse.

(Warning: Graphic photo links below)

Drudge is running the pictures now. If you must see them click here to see the picture page.

Update: The man at the top of the suspect list, Abdulaziz al-Moqrin was killed by the Saudi’s Friday.

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – The purported leader of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia was killed in a raid in the capital Friday, Saudi security officials said. Abdulaziz al-Moqrin, 31, was killed by security forces who had surrounded militants in a downtown neighborhood shortly after the discovery of the body of an American killed earlier in the evening, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Al-Arabiya satellite station said two other militants, on Saudi Arabia’s list of most wanted men, were also killed in the raid, and another was injured and arrested.

Al-Moqrin, who trained with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, is at the top of the list of suspects in Saudi Arabia and is believed to be the leader of the group calling itself al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which claimed responsibility for Friday’s beheading of American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr.

Al-Moqrin’s group has claimed responsibility for most attacks against Westerners in Saudi Arabia in the past two months.Our family’s prayers are with Mr. Johnson’s family.

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