Police arrest four men suspected of helping with bomb attacks

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Saudi Arabia said yesterday it had arrested four men suspected of helping to carry out last week's co-ordinated bombings of residential compounds in Riyadh and was seeking at least five more people believed to have organised the attacks on behalf of al-Qa'ida.

Saudi Arabia said yesterday it had arrested four men suspected of helping to carry out last week's co-ordinated bombings of residential compounds in Riyadh and was seeking at least five more people believed to have organised the attacks on behalf of al-Qa'ida.

The kingdom's Interior Minister, Prince Nayef, conceded that the four men – who were not named – played only a secondary role, and that the chief organisers were still on the loose, either in Saudi Arabia or abroad.

He also confirmed that the Riyadh plot was linked to the discovery earlier this month of an arms cache believed to have been assembled by al-Qa'ida to attack the royal family and other targets in Saudi Arabia. As many as 19 people are still being sought in connection with that investigation, including Khaled Jehani, a Saudi citizen who Saudi and US officials believe was in charge of the Riyadh operation.

After receiving a rare public dressing down from US diplomats and politicians last week for their security failures, the Saudis now seem keen to give every indication of their co- operation in the police investigation of the bombings, which killed 34 people, including nine suspected suicide bombers.

At least 60 US investigators, including agents from the FBI and CIA, are in the country to guide the Saudis. In Washington, officials are growing extremely concerned that a resurgent al-Qa'ida may once again have the power to launch devastating attacks on several continents. After last week's attacks on Riyadh and Casablanca, strongly worded warnings suggest several countries in Asia and Africa may be next.

US officials quoted in yesterday's Washington Post said Jehani was the main Saudi link for al-Qa'ida's new military commander, an Egyptian called Saif Adel. The officials also suggested that Adel was based in Iran – a potentially explosive claim, since Iran is part of President George Bush's "axis of evil" and has been discussed as a possible target for future US military action.

Along with Mr Adel, the officials said the Iranian presence included Abu Mohammed Masri, al-Qa'ida's head of training; Saad bin Laden, son of Osama; and Abu Musab Zarqawi, who is believed to have been hiding in Baghdad at some point last year.

Comments