Web Site Denies Cell Leader Killed

A message posted on an Islamic militant Web site Saturday denied that the leader of the Al Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia had been killed.

Abdulaziz al-Moqrin (search) had purportedly overseen the kinapping of Paul M. Johnson, the American whose decapitated body was found on Friday in Riyadh. Saudi officials claimed al-Moqrin, the reputed leader of the group calling itself Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (search), was killed in a shootout after Johnson's body was found.

"Some satellite networks and news agencies have been propagating the false news that Abdel Aziz al-Moqrin, God preserve him, has been killed," the statement said. "We would like to say that such claims, unleashed by the tyrants of Saudi Arabia, are aimed at dissuading the holy warriors and crushing their spirits."

The statement was impossible to verify but appeared on a Web site where similar claims have been made in the past. It began with a Quranic verse that urges believers to ensure the truth of information they receive, and was similar in appearance and tone as past messages.

It said another statement would appear soon.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity Friday had confirmed that 31-year-old al-Moqrin was dead. A Saudi official said forensic tests would be conducted on the body to confirm his identity.