Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

6 Confess to Truck Bombing, Says Saudi Opposition Leader

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

6 Confess to Truck Bombing, Says Saudi Opposition Leader

Article excerpt

Six Muslim militants have confessed to the truck bombing that killed 19 U.S. servicemen in Saudi Arabia, a Saudi opposition figure claimed Wednesday.

But he predicted that it would be weeks before Saudi authorities announced the details.

The U.S. Embassy and Saudi officials in the kingdom refused to comment Wednesday on the report by a Saudi opposition group and had released no details on the inquiry into the June 25 blast at a U.S. military housing complex in eastern Saudi Arabia near Dhahran.

But on Wednesday, Saad al-Fagih, head of the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, said from his exile base in London that the six Muslim militant suspects were imprisoned in Jubail, a port city 50 miles northwest of Dhahran. He said the men who confessed were among "hundreds" detained for questioning since the bombing.

Fagih cited Saudi security and Interior Ministry sources for his report. His account could not be independently confirmed.

In Washington, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday night that an unknown number of people had been detained for questioning. The official said it was not known if Saudi investigators had made any formal arrests.

Saudi authorities have a long history of eliciting confessions, but gov ernment opponents and human rights groups say suspects are sometimes tortured and their statements are not necessarily reliable.

After a car bombing last November that killed five Americans at a U.S.-run military complex in Riyadh, the capital, four Saudi men were arrested and gave televised confessions, saying they were influenced by militant Muslim groups elsewhere.

U.S. officials were not allowed to question the men before they were beheaded in May. U.S. officials have said they would like greater access to suspects in this case.

U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry met with Saudi King Fahd only days after the June bombing and said it was his understanding that U.S. investigators would be allowed to interrogate anyone arrested in the bombing. …

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