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Saudis Suspect al-Qaida in Deadly Bombing in Riyadh - 2003-11-10


Saudi authorities say the death toll from Saturday's bombing at a Riyadh housing complex has risen to at least 17, including five children. The Kingdom's interior ministry has promised to catch those responsible for the bombings, thought to be the work of the al-Qaida terror network. A senior U.S. official, who is in Riyadh for talks focused on terrorism, accused the suicide bombers of trying to bring down says the Saudi royal family. Saudi Arabia's Interior minister, Prince Nayef, vowed the country's security services will not rest until the capture of the suspected al-Qaida militants who blew up the Riyadh housing complex.

Prince Nayef told reporters his forces will get the perpetrators, no matter how long it takes. He said this will be the job of all the sons of this homeland, and security forces until Saudi Arabia rids itself of what he called "devils and evil people."

Prince Nayef was speaking at the destroyed housing compound, where rescue workers were still searching through the rubble for bodies.

Saudi authorities say at least 13 of the dead and most of the more than 122 people wounded are Arabs, who were at the mostly-Arab expatriate workers' al Muhaya compound when the attackers posing as police, shot their way into the complex and blew up their explosives-packed car.

The bombings came a day after renewed alerts by several western countries, including the United States, that acts of terror in the kingdom might be imminent.

Saudi authorities say the terror network al-Qaida is behind the bombing, which they say used the same techniques al-Qaida suicide bombers used last May against western housing compounds in Riyadh. Those bombings killed 35 people.

In Riyadh for talks, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told reporters that al-Qaida was probably behind the latest suicide attack. He told the al-Arabiya station that such attacks are aimed at the Saudi regime.

"It's quite clear that al-Qaida wants to take down the royal family and the government of Saudi Arabia," said Mr. Armitage.

Mr. Armitage told reporters that the United States intends to improve its ties with Saudi Arabia, which U.S. officials have accused of not doing enough to prevent Muslim militancy.

The kingdom says it is doing what it can, and has arrested hundreds of suspected Islamic militants it says have links with al-Qaida and the group's Saudi-born leader, Osama bin Laden.

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