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Posted: 10/7/2001 6:45:43 AM EDT
[size=3]Gulf tensions rise as Saudi Arabian bomb kills two[/size=3] [i]By David Wastell in Washington, Joe Murphy and Robin Gedye[/i] (Filed: 07/10/2001) [url]http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$OBFH3LYAAHSU5QFIQMGSFFOAVCBQ­WIV0?xml=/news/2001/10/07/wbomb07.xml&sSheet=/news/2001/10/07/ixhome.html[/url] TENSIONS in the Gulf escalated sharply last night after an American was among two people killed when a bomb exploded in a busy shopping area in the centre of al-Khobar, eastern Saudi Arabia, close to the headquarters of foreign oil companies. A Briton and another American were believed to be among four people wounded. A Foreign Office spokesman said: "As far as we are aware no Britons were killed. One British man was injured and our consular staff visited him immediately in hospital. He has superficial injuries." * * * Witnesses said the bomb went off at about 8.30pm in an electronics shop on King Khalid Street, a main shopping area in al-Khobar. They said they saw one person lying dead at the scene and three others, two of them thought to be Asians, taken away by ambulance. American officials believed the explosion had been caused by a parcel-bomb device that had been thrown. * * * Police sealed off the shopping area, also used by Western oil workers and businessmen, with checkpoints on all roads to King Khalid Street. American troops were moved out of the Dhahran air force base, outside al-Khobar, after an explosion in 1996 killed 19 US air force members and injured 372 in a residential area. Bin Laden was thought responsible for the attack. Bin Laden has said he is prepared to carry out a relentless terrorist campaign to drive American and British troops from the region. There are currently 20,000 British troops on military exercises in neighbouring Oman. The headquarters of the Arabian American Oil Company and the offices of the Saudi petroleum ministry are based in Dhahran. The nearby market town and former shipping port of al-Khobar is still used by many expatriates, including Britons. The witnesses said Saudi authorities appeared to be looking for a car believed to have been used in the attack. Saudi Arabia, where bin Laden's family have their roots, has promised its support for a US-led campaign against terrorism although it has refused to allow US aircraft to fly sorties against Afghanistan from their bases there. [b]Bin Laden, [u]whose terrorist operations have been funded by businessmen from Saudi Arabia[/u], among other Gulf states, admitted that he knew two of the three men executed by the Saudis for the 1996 Dhahran bombing.[/b] * * * American officials said they saw no immediate connection between the explosion and Washington's response to the September 11 attacks. "Based on first reports, we believe this is an isolated incident," an administration official said. [b]Attempts by the FBI to investigate the 1996 bombing were hampered by half-hearted Saudi co-operation and it was not until June that an indictment could be issued.[/b] * * * See additional article from NewsTelegraphUK at: [url] http://news.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml;$sessionid$OQL42VYAAIOZRQFIQMGSFFOAVCBQ­WIV0?html=/archive/1996/07/16/wsau16.html[/url] Eric The(SinisterMotives?)Hun[>]:)]
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