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Former NZ student killed in Saudi shootout

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/01/2017

Saudi Arabia police have killed the man who planned a July attack on one of Islam's holiest sites, saying he was a former engineering scholarship student who had studied in New Zealand.

The Interior Ministry claims Taie bin Salem bin Yaslam al-Saya'ari was one of two killed in a shootout with officers in Riyadh on Saturday, Associated Press reports.

The ministry said he made the suicide bomb used in the July 4 attack outside of the Medina mosque, where four Saudi security force members were killed.

It is understood Al-Saya'ari had quit studying in New Zealand to travel to Syria to fight for Islamic State, the ministry said.

It did not say when he had studied here or where.

He later travelled to Turkey, Sudan and Yemen before returning to Saudi Arabia.

The other militant killed on Saturday, Talal bin Samran al-Sa'aeidi, had previously been arrested for fighting abroad and underwent counselling when he returned to the kingdom.

Al-Saya'ari had been on a wanted list for a year, the ministry said in a statement.

Major General Mansour Al-Turki said the pair started firing their weapons and one security force member was injured before the men were killed.

Two explosive belts, two machine guns and a home-made hand grenade as well as two small basins filled with suspected explosive chemical materials were found.

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