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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Mastermind of Riyadh Bombings Arrested

Aired June 26, 2003 - 19:18   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Saudi and U.S. officials say they have the man who master minded last month's bombings in Riyadh. The attacks, you'll remember, killed nine Americans and 14 others, as well as a dozen suicide bombers.
CNN's State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel is tracking the developments and she joins us live with details.

Andrea, what's the latest?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Saudi officials say that suspected ring leader whose name is Ali Abdulrachman al-Faqa'asi Al-Ghamdi, also known as Abu Bakr al-Azdi, turned himself in Thursday to Saudi authorities near the city at a check point in the holy city of Medina.

This, of course, is linked to the suicide bombings on May 12 in Riyadh for which al Qaeda was blamed by those Saudi and U.S. officials.

Now Saudi Arabia insists no deal was struck with Al-Ghamdi, and that he will, quote, "be judged according to Islamic or Sharia law," which is known for its eye for an eye approach to punishing crime.

U.S. officials who spoke with CNN's David Ensor described his surrender as, quote, "a significant get" and said that he has ties to senior al Qaeda figures.

Now, within the last hour, the secretary of state, Colin Powell, spoke to reporters and when questioned about Al-Ghamdi's arrest, said that he had no specific information about it. But if it was true, the U.S. would be very, very pleased -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. We'll be following this one very closely. Andrea Koppel, thanks very much.

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