Wednesday, May 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

29 killed in Saudi bombings

US Secretary of State Colin Powell is seen on Tuesday in this still image taken from television footage in front of wrecked buildings after a suicide attack on a Westerners' compound in Riyadh overnight. — Reuters photo

Dubai, May 13
Suspected Al-Qaida suicide bombers carried out unprecedented strikes in Saudi Arabia, killing at least 29 persons, seven of them Americans, and injuring 194, including nine Indians in Riyadh, hours before the arrival of US Secretary of State Colin Powell today.

Mr Powell said the coordinated attacks had “the earmarks of the Al-Qaida.”

The dead also included nine suicide bombers who had shot their way into three housing compounds after firing at the security guards before setting off car bombs late last night. The attacks were followed by a smaller bombing at a Saudi-US company this morning.

A statement by the Saudi Interior Ministry said besides the bombers, the dead in the simultaneous attacks included seven Saudis, seven Americans, two Jordanian children, two Filipinos, a Lebanese and a Swiss.

A 35-year-old son of Riyadh’s Deputy Governor Abdullah al-Blaihed was among the killed.

The statement said 10 persons were killed in the first explosion overnight at the Al-Hamra compound, two at the Al-Jadawel compound and eight at the Vinnel building.

Earlier, Mr Powell on his arrival in Riyadh on a scheduled visit said, “Right now it seems as if we have lost 10 Americans and many other lives were lost from many other nationalities.”

Australian Foreign Affairs spokesman said in Canberra that a 39-year old Sydney man who worked for a computer company died in the blast and another Australian was injured.

Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Talmiz Ahmed said nine Indians were so far reported to have been injured. Of them, eight had been discharged after first aid while one Ahmed Munir was still in hospital.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif said the explosions were suicide bombings and were carried out by bombers linked to the Al-Qaida terror network, uncovered in Riyadh last week.

“Three explosions that occurred in eastern Riyadh were suicide bombings... set off by cars stuffed with explosives that were driven into targeted compounds,” he was quoted as saying.

Speaking in Jordan shortly after the attacks, Mr Powell said these bore all signs of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network.

“It is just part of the Al-Qaida and other terrorist organisations’ willingness to kill innocent people in order to push forward a criminal agenda, a terrorist agenda that very often has no purpose, has no meaning other than to strike out in rage,” Mr Powell said.

Condemning the attacks, he said “once again it reminds us that terrorism is a global phenomenon.”

No outfit has claimed responsibility, but the Al-Qaida has implied that it was behind the strikes. PTI

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