The U.S. Ambassador in Riyadh Saturday praised Saudi Arabia's authorities after
the killing of four wanted militants involved in the beheading of an American
hostage. But he cautions that the battle against terrorism will be a long one.
Saudi Arabia showed photographs on national television Saturday of four terrorists
on the government's wanted list who were killed in a firefight with security
forces. Among the pictures was the body of the alleged al-Qaida leader in Saudi
Arabia, Abdulaziz al-Muqrin who, Saudi officials say, was killed in the shootout.
Abdulaziz al-Muqrin is thought to be responsible for the beheading of American
Paul Johnson on Friday.
U.S. Ambassador in Riyadh James Oberwetter praised the Saudi government for
its work in killing the four militants.
"Good work is being done by the Saudis, but it will be some time before we
achieve a comfort level that the situation has returned to normal," he said. "We
look forward to that day, but it's some time away."
He cautioned Westerners that Saudi Arabia, "remains dangerous." The United
States, Britain and other countries have advised their citizens in the country
Editorials in Saturday's edition of the Arab News say a mass exodus
of foreigners from the kingdom would show that the terrorists are winning.
Something ambassador Oberwetter said Saturday was not true.
"I reject categorically any insinuation that the terrorists are winning," the
ambassador said. "They may achieve some small victories over individuals, but
they will not prevail over the force of civilization."
For it's part, the Saudi government has acknowledged that security is still
lacking, but says thousands of security personnel are being trained and hundreds
of millions of dollars are being spent on state-of-the-art equipment to aid
law enforcement in its attempt to crackdown on militant groups.
Senior officials at the U.S. embassy agree that security has become the top
priority for the Saudi government. However, they say until that security apparatus
is completely functional, nowhere in Saudi Arabia is safe for foreigners.