CNN U.S. News

Ambassador: Car bomb destroyed military building

Saudi Arabia

Six dead, 60 injured

November 13, 1995
Web posted at: 11:45 a.m. EST (1645 GMT)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) -- The U.S. ambassador in Saudi Arabia has confirmed it was a bomb that destroyed a military building in Riyadh on Monday. Six people were killed, including five Americans. Sixty others were injured.

Bombed building

Raymond Mabus, the U.S. ambassador in Riyadh, said a bomb blew up the U.S.-leased building. (240K AIFF sound or 240K WAV sound) Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon told CNN preliminary reports indicated there was a large explosion in a parking lot outside the training facility at around 11:20 a.m. (3:20 a.m. EST, 0820 GMT), followed by a smaller blast about five minutes later.

Officials in Saudi Arabia indicated the explosion was a deliberate act of terrorism and said authorities were confident of "arresting those who carried out this crime."

A group called The Islamic Movement for Change has claimed responsibility.

Sources told CNN the United States is working under the assumption that the explosion was the result of a car bomb, but officials have not ruled out the possibility the blast was the result of a natural gas explosion.

Saudi Arabia, U.S. State Department and Pentagon officials said the three-story building is used by U.S. military and civilian personnel.

Blasted building

Bacon identified the office building as the headquarters of the Office for Program Management of the Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM-SANG). He said a mix of U.S. military and contract workers worked there in a training capacity. It was not immediately known if the causalities were military or civilian.

Witnesses said the scene was chaotic right after the blast. Bystanders helped to load bleeding casualties into cars to be taken to hospitals. "We are seeing a lot of burns," said a hospital spokesperson in Riyadh. Witnesses said the blast was felt across the city. "A huge explosion shook our building," a Riyadh resident said. "It was like an earthquake." (200K AIFF sound or 200K WAV sound)

Saudi Arabia was the launching point for the U.S.-led multinational military force that drove Iraq's occupation troops from Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. But the U.S. military training mission in Saudi Arabia is unrelated to the troops stationed there in the aftermath of the Gulf War.

The Defense Department has released these telephone hotlines for information on friends and family in Saudi Arabia:

If members of your family are Defense Department personnel working in Saudi Arabia, call (703) 274-8013 beginning at 7:30 a.m. EST Tuesday.

For questions about family members or friends who are private U.S. citizens, call (202) 647-5225.

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