News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinecabal-elitew-administrationw-bush — Viewing Item


Learn meaning american justice { May 14 2003 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
   http://nytimes.com/2003/05/14/international/middleeast/14BOMB.html

http://nytimes.com/2003/05/14/international/middleeast/14BOMB.html

May 14, 2003
Bush Condemns Saudi Blasts; 7 Americans Are Dead
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, May 13 At least 20 people, including seven Americans, were killed in the synchronized truck bomb attacks here on Monday night, Saudi officials said today, and President Bush vowed to hunt down and punish those responsible. Nine additional bodies appeared to be the charred remains of some of the attackers, the officials said.

The explosions blasted apart buildings in three residential compounds, which were heavily populated by Americans and other Westerners, shearing off facades, knocking down palm trees and creating heaps of twisted steel and rubble. About 200 people were wounded, most of them not seriously, Saudi officials said.

Mr. Bush angrily condemned the attacks. "These despicable acts were committed by killers whose only faith is hate," he said today during a trip to Pierce City, Mo., to view recent damage from tornadoes. "The United States will find the killers, and they will learn the meaning of American justice."

Crown Prince Abdullah, in an address to Saudis, swore to "confront and destroy" the attackers. "If those murderers believe that their bloody crimes will shake even one hair on the body of this nation and its unity, they are deceiving themselves," he said. "If they believe they will shake the security and stability of our country, they are dreaming."

While the Bush administration ordered all nonessential diplomatic employees and their families to return home, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it was sending agents to Saudi Arabia to assist with the investigation.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, accompanied by Saudi leaders, toured an apartment complex with its entire front side blown off. The blast left a crater 10 feet deep. Furniture and clothing were strewn about and a nearly obliterated truck was turned upside down. The pungent stench of explosives hung in the torrid air.

Mr. Powell, who arrived in Riyadh late this morning for a previously scheduled meeting with the crown prince, seemed shaken by the scene. "This was a well-planned terrorist attack, obviously," he said somberly, with the wreckage arrayed behind him. "The facility had been cased, as had the others. Very well executed. And it shows the nature of the enemy we're working against. These are people who are determined to try to penetrate facilities like this for the purpose of killing people in their sleep, killing innocent people, killing people who would try to help others."

Like other officials, Mr. Powell said there was no evidence that Al Qaeda had carried out the attack, but he said it had that group's "fingerprints."

Mr. Bush said the White House had suspicions about who was responsible for the attacks. "I can't say for certain it was Al Qaeda, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was," he said.

Last week, the Saudi police raided a suspected Islamic militant cell here, but the 19 suspects escaped in a shootout. Today, a Saudi official said the government suspected that at least some of the 19 being sought last week took part in the bomb attack. He added that the government had expected a strike in the country for at least six weeks, based on intercepts and people it had apprehended.

American officials said the three attacks were almost identical in method. In each case, a vehicle sped to a lightly guarded entry gate of one of three large residential compounds in the northeastern part of the sprawling capital. Gunmen shot their way past the sentries and stormed the guardhouses. After they opened the gates and removed other barriers, a second car or truck packed with explosives made its way into the compound, following similar routes to the center before setting off an explosion.

A primary target was the Vinnell Arabia compound, home to 500 employees of the Vinnell Corporation, of Fairfax, Va., a subsidiary of the Northrop Grumman Corporation, which trains members of the Saudi National Guard. The seven Americans who were killed had lived in one of the apartments in the complex. They have yet to be identified. By a stroke of luck, 50 of the 70 residents of the building were away that night on a training exercise, a United States official said.

A military officer at the Vinnell Arabia compound, which was visited by Mr. Powell, said that all of the attacks took place within a few minutes of each other, at about 11:20 p.m. local time, and that it appeared that the truck at the Vinnell complex contained 400 pounds of an explosive material like RDX or Semtex. He said it was possible that some of the attackers had fled at either the compound entrance or from the second vehicle before it exploded.

The other two compounds were identified as Al Hamra and Gedawal, both occupied by some of the thousands of foreigners working for businesses and trade organizations. Saudi officials estimate that between 15,000 and 35,000 foreigners live in Riyadh, most of them in compounds with 20-foot walls that provide the privacy that enables them to lead normal Western lives free of Islamic strictures.

Family members whose apartments were blown up at Al Hamra said this evening that many of their colleagues had left the country before the recent war with Iraq and returned in recent weeks with a renewed feeling of security.

"Before the war, they asked us all to leave," said Jelal Berkel, 39, an employee of Saudi Snack Foods, a subsidiary of Frito Lay. "But we said we feel secure in the compound. What a mistake."

He said he and his wife, Elif, heard a loud clicking sound late at night, at first thinking it was firecrackers. It turned out to be automatic gunfire. When they went to the window, they said they saw an orange light filling the sky, followed by an explosion and then intense heat. The blast blew open their windows and doors.

"It looked like a cruise missile or a Tomahawk or Scud missile fell into the place," Mr. Berkel said.

The Berkels said they were leaving Saudi Arabia immediately and predicted that other foreigners would follow. They seemed puzzled by their own recent complacency. Mrs. Berkel said the security gate to their compound, which had been closed during the war with Iraq, had been left open recently.

"You believe what you want to believe," she said. "We thought it was very secure. We were just so happy and relaxed that everything was back to normal."

While some people may have drawn the conclusion that tensions had died down after the recent Iraq war, the United States issued an unusually specific warning on May 1 that terrorists "may be in the final phases of planning attacks" on American targets in Saudi Arabia.

Since the Persian Gulf war of 1991, when Saudi Arabia joined with the United States to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait, Al Qaeda has sought to force the American military out of Saudi Arabia, accusing the royal family of allowing infidels too much influence over territory that contains Islam's holiest sites. In an effort to reduce tensions after the Iraq war, the United States announced plans to draw down its forces in the country.

One of the main objectives of Mr. Powell's trip was to patch up American relations with Arab states suspicious of American motives in the Iraq war. To that end, he was trying to get Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to put pressure on the Palestinian leadership to crack down on terrorist attacks against Israel.

The Arabs were disappointed with Mr. Powell's diplomacy, complaining that he had wrung too few concessions from Israel. The secretary heard about the bomb attacks around midnight but decided to go to Saudi Arabia anyway, perhaps out of concern that to cancel would have been a blow to Saudi prestige.

Upon arriving here, Mr. Powell met the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, at the Riyadh airport. Prince Saud noted that the victims of the attacks were both Americans and Saudis. "It shows, but it is no consolation, that these things happen everywhere," he said.






Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | Help | Back to Top



awol
controlled-president
daughters
margie-schoedinger
satire-pics
Americans now doubt bush ethical standards
April 2004 [jpg]
Arab waiter barred from bush dinner { December 12 2003 }
Author fortunate son murdered { July 21 2001 }
Baghdad thanksgiving with selected soldiers { December 12 2003 }
Behind bush
Blair defends george bush london visit { November 17 2003 }
Bush 2000 against nation building and poor nation debt { October 11 2000 }
Bush 2004 strategy { April 22 2003 }
Bush acts crazy and paranoid says aides
Bush and bono have lunch { September 2005 } [jpg]
Bush arrested cocaine 1972
Bush asks condi to go poddy [jpg]
Bush asks condi to go poddy { September 14 2005 }
Bush asks condi to poddy [jpg]
Bush asks court nominees about excercise { July 21 2005 }
Bush aug 2005 approval plummeting
Bush austin powers { July 23 2002 }
Bush biographer murdered { July 20 2001 }
Bush blackhawks wreck queens garden
Bush calls french chirac good cowboy
Bush calls whitehouse the peoples house
Bush campaign criticize imf { October 13 2000 }
Bush campaign wants troops home { October 12 2000 }
Bush carrier speech explanation { May 7 2003 }
Bush compares troops america to nfl { September 4 2003 }
Bush defeated in 1978 as carpetbagger { March 29 1999 }
Bush defends islam
Bush defends outsourcing in heartland
Bush demands more police powers against terror
Bush denies torture while defending cia torture
Bush expands intel chief power over fbi { June 30 2005 }
Bush falls mountain biking again { July 26 2004 }
Bush falls off mountain bike { May 23 2004 }
Bush fell off bike 2004 [jpg]
Bush fell pretzel [jpg]
Bush flashes bird [jpg]
Bush gesture interpreted as salute to satan
Bush goes on vacation again
Bush heil reuters june 14 2005 [jpg]
Bush insists on overtime reform { October 2 2003 }
Bush job approval hits 29 precent { May 11 2006 }
Bush jokes about circumventing elections { October 2007 }
Bush jokes about skull and bones
Bush keeping secrets away from public
Bush left behind [jpg]
Bush loses congress election 1978 texas
Bush lowest popularity in presidency { September 6 2003 }
Bush lunches press pre speech { January 28 2003 }
Bush makes international law scoff comment
Bush meets with nato leaders { February 22 2005 }
Bush mount rushmore [jpg]
Bush painted as wealthy outsider from east
Bush press conferences staged
Bush quotes koran in speech defending iraq war { November 11 2005 }
Bush ratings lowest level november 2005
Bush reagan revolution { February 4 2003 }
Bush requests not be embarrassed by protests
Bush resume
Bush savaged by former treasury chief { January 9 2004 }
Bush says climate change is man made { July 5 2005 }
Bush says free trade will give americans jobs { October 13 2007 }
Bush says hes thinking of new ways to harm our people
Bush says isolation bad and clinton is close friend
Bush says patriot act doesnt erode liberties
Bush says they hate us for being arrogant { October 11 2000 }
Bush scares aides with obscene tirades
Bush sedated { June 28 2002 }
Bush signing statement bypass torture law { January 11 2006 }
Bush spends 40 percent time out of office { April 12 2004 }
Bush strangles [jpg]
Bush supporters more biased against blacks { January 30 2006 }
Bush throws baseball apr04 [jpg]
Bush took cocaine at camp david
Bush under 50perc 2004
Bush unfamiliar with voting rights act
Bush upset with media for reporting bank mining { June 27 2006 }
Bush uses 911 link in iraq speech { September 11 2001 }
Bush w clames to be a texan { January 20 2005 }
Bush wants domestic intelligence like britain { April 13 2004 }
Bush wants more power against terrorism
Bush wants pentagon to lead in disasters
Bush with baby [jpg]
Bushlizard [jpg]
Community work 1973 for community service for drug charges
Critics slam bush india nuclear deal { March 2 2006 }
First lady bush [jpg]
Hair cut afghan
House report blames bush on katrina
Increasing mental lapses worry bush aides { October 2005 }
Keepers bush image { May 16 2003 }
Learn meaning american justice { May 14 2003 }
Letterman shows bored boy during bush speech { April 1 2004 }
March 2005 approval rating lowest of bush presidency
President bush pardons cocaine dealer { December 21 2005 }
Prevpres buttout
Pro bush supporter drives over american flags
Reunion yale frayed ties { April 21 2003 }
Sister in law denies bush cocaine use { September 9 2004 }
Some dispute bush account of 73 charity work
Study of conservatism psyche { August 13 2003 }
Support strong yet tax cut doubts { May 14 2003 }
Taped conversations reveal w bush marijuana use { February 20 2005 }
Turkey trip to baghdad { December 4 2003 }
War is peace

Files Listed: 105



Correction/submissions

CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Archives
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple