'Al-Qaeda behind 'Riyadh bombings'

RIYADH: For the first time, the Saudi interior minister linked last month's Riyadh bombings to al-Qaeda in an interview published yesterday, and his ministry announced that it has identified 12 of the attackers. 

“I think it is al-Qaeda (who executed the attacks) and there might be other (terror) organisations who helped or worked closely in the attacks,'' Prince Nayef Abdul Aziz told the Arabic-language Okaz daily. 

Nayef said 25 people so far are in custody in connection with the May 12 bombings at three Western housing compounds in Riyadh. Thirty-five people were killed, including nine suicide bombers. 

An Interior Ministry announcement yesterday identified 12 people who were involved in the attacks.  

It said their identification was made “through intensive investigation and blood and DNA tests.'' 

It did not, however, explain their role in the attacks or if any of the 12 were among the terrorists killed in the suicide bombings. 

The list did not include Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi, believed to be the bombings mastermind. 

In the statement, published by the official Saudi Press Agency, an unnamed ministry official said authorities also discovered a large quantity of RDX explosives.  

The 132 blocks of RDX - weighing 128.4kg - were found in a house in Al-Kharj, some 70km south of the capital. 

Last Sunday, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the attacks bore “all the hallmarks'' of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror group. The Saudis had not publicised the same connection, though it acknowledged that some of those detained had known ties to al-Qaeda. 

Nayef said 25 people have now been detained in connection with the bombings. 

“We can't say that all (those in custody) are involved in the bombings but they all have the same orientation'' and hold the same beliefs as those involved in the attacks, Nayef said. 

Saudi officials are still searching for at least 10 more suspects wanted in connection with a weapons cache found in Riyadh a week before the bombings, Nayef said. 

Authorities published a list of 19 men wanted in that case who are believed to be receiving orders directly from Osama. 

Four of the 19 were identified among the nine bombers killed in the attacks. – AP  

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