Saudi Arabia has one of the largest concentrations of Islamic radicals on the planet, and for decades it was a place where al Qaeda members could hide, if they kept quiet. But al Qaeda began a series of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia after the United States invaded Iraq two years ago, and brought themselves into direct conflict with the Saudi Arabian government. This war has not gone well for al Qaeda. The attacks killed mostly Moslems, and many Saudi Arabians as well. This turned most Saudis against the terrorists, despite the Islamic conservatism of most of the population. In the last two years, about a hundred terrorists, and 39 policemen, have been killed. Early on, Saudi Arabia drew up a list of the 26 most wanted terrorists. Only three of these are still at large.
Most Saudis are still against the American liberation of Iraq, and agree with many of al Qaedas goals (driving infidels out the Middle East, destroy Israel and convert the world to Islam.) But Saudis are even more hostile to anyone who stages threatens their personal safety. The Saudi police and intelligence services have received a constant stream of tips on suspected al Qaeda activity. Hundreds of young Saudi men have gone to Iraq to fight, despite increased border security and arrests of many who were found out before they could get across the border. The pro-al Qaeda attitudes are common throughout the Persian Gulf. None of the countries in the region back terrorism, even though they have not seen as much violence as Saudi Arabia. But the result has been unprecedented cooperation to track and arrest Islamic terrorists. This is done quietly, with suspects being quietly arrested and extradited to their native lands. Information is exchanged as well. The home of Islamic terrorism has become a very hostile place for Islamic terrorists.
After a three day siege, and lots of gunfire, Saudi Arabian police killed 14 Al Qaeda terrorists, including international fugitive, Moroccan Abdulkarim al Mejjati, and captured six alive. Another al Qaeda leader was killed as well. The battle took place 320 kilometers north of the capital. The police suffered 14 wounded. Al Mejjati planned and carried out a major 2003 attack in Morocco, and was involved in the 2004 Madrid bombing as well. He was one of the 26 most wanted terrorists in Saudi Arabia, and security officials believed he had fled the country. But there are few places for known al Qaeda members to hide, and travel is difficult as well.