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Bomb Explodes Outside Saudi Bank - 2004-09-11


A bomb exploded outside a bank in Saudi Arabia early Saturday, but appears to have caused no casualties. One of the bombers was reportedly shot and taken into custody, and Saudi police have launched a search for other militants that fled the scene.

According to observers in Jeddah, the bomb went off outside a branch of the Samba Financial Group, formerly known as the Saudi-American bank, but did little damage.

Essam Al-Ghalid, a reporter at the Jeddah bureau of Saudi News, gave a detailed account of the events.

"We understand that about 11 o'clock this morning an unidentified car pulled up to a bank," he said. "Four people get out of it and jump into a Chevy Caprice. As soon as they get into the Chevy Caprice, the car outside of the ATM of a bank, the Saudi-American bank, explodes."

According to the reporter, the explosions didn't injure anyone.

"It wasn't a total detonation," said Essam Al-Ghalid. "It was quite a big bang, but no injuries. When the police checked out the car after it exploded, it had a white powder in the back, some kind of incendiary powder, I suppose, that failed to ignite."

Al Arabiya satellite news channel reported that a wounded militant had been taken under heavy guard to the hospital, and that other militants had fled the scene and taken shelter in a house about 700 meters from the US consulate.

There was no comment from Saudi officials.

The seemingly botched attack took place on the third anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

In the past months Saudi Arabia has been rocked by a series of attacks targeting Westerners and foreign companies, in which about 90 police officers and civilians have been killed. The Saudi security forces have responded with a widespread crackdown on militants.

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