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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Saudis Identify 3 of 9 Suicide Bombers

Aired May 18, 2003 - 10:59   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We are getting new information coming in to us at this hour about the bombing on Monday in Saudi Arabia, where 25 people were killed, eight of which were Americans.
Sheila MacVicar is joining us now on the phone from Riyadh with the very latest -- Sheila.

SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, the Saudi authorities, the press conference that ended just a short while ago with the Saudi interior minister. The Saudi interior minister has said that Saudi authorities have identified the bodies of three of the nine suicide bombers, who killed themselves last Monday night, killing also -- killing in three attacks on three different compounds.

The Saudi authorities say that three of the bodies have been identified, and that they were amongst the 19 men who had previously been wanted by Saudi authorities.

Now, they are saying also that they have got four people in custody. They say that they were not previously amongst those who were wanted. They say that they believe -- they have indications that these four people had knowledge or some knowledge of the attacks before they took place. They will not say what specific knowledge they may have had or how they may have helped in organizing or planning the attacks.

They say also that they have some indications that those four may be members of al Qaeda. But they, again, will not specify how they know that.

The question of whether or not al Qaeda or groups affiliated with al Qaeda were behind those attacks last Monday night is one that has been of great concern obviously to Saudi and American officials and others. There have been reports perhaps that a senior al Qaeda commander named Sayif al-Adel (ph), who is believed to be in Iran, may have been the operational leader behind these attacks.

The Saudis are saying today that although they have heard those reports, they have not seen specific intelligence from the U.S. or other places that would persuade them that in fact that was the case -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Sheila MacVicar on the phone for us today from Riyadh with the very latest on the Saudi bombing. We will continue to check on that story as the latest developments become available to us. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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