U.S. Hostage Paul Johnson Beheaded; Photographs Surface on Al Qaeda Website
June 18, 2004
A 49-year old American engineer kidnapped last weekend in Saudi Arabia has been beheaded by Muslim extremists.
Photographs of Paul M. Johnson's severed head and body were posted on an al Qaeda website on Friday.
In addition, Saudi officials have announced that Johnson's remains have been recovered outside the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
A U.S. official in Washington has confirmed that Johnson was beheaded. Al Qaeda fugitive Abdulaziz Issa Abdul-Mohsin al-Moqrin has been named the prime suspect in the murder.
Johnson was an employee of Lockheed Martin working on Apache attack helicopter systems for the Saudi government. He was kidnapped on June 12 - the same day Islamic militants shot and killed another American ex-patriot, Kenneth Scroggs, in his Riyadh garage.
Shortly after the kidnapping, the terrorists said they would murder their hostage unless all al Qaeda prisoners being held in Saudi Arabia were released.
In addition to the photographs, al Qaeda posted a statement to their website:
"In answer to what we promised ... to kill the hostage... after the period is over ... the infidel got his fair treatment....Let him taste something of what Muslims have long tasted from Apache helicopter fire and missiles."
Also on Friday, Saudi security forces announced that they had killed three Islamic militants in the al-Malazz district of Riyadh. It is not clear if the militants were connected with the murder of Paul Johnson.
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