CAIRO, Egypt – The head of the Al Qaeda cell that killed Paul M. Johnson Jr. (search ) 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, Abid al-Aziz al-Muqran (search ) called Johnson "an infidel, a warrior of the military."
Johnson, who had worked on Apache helicopters for Lockheed Martin (search ) 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-Muqran 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-Muqran 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-Muqran, believed to be the top Al Qaeda 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.