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Report: U.S. gets new info on Saudi bomb

front of blasted building

FBI still not allowed to talk to suspects

December 6, 1996
Web posted at: 11:10 p.m. EST (0410 GMT)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) -- Saudi investigators have refused to let FBI agents question suspects arrested in the Khobar Tower bombing, but they have given the United States an edited tape of their interrogation and provided other new information, ABC News reported Friday.

Nineteen U.S. Air Force personnel died when a truck loaded with explosives blew up near the complex where the U.S. servicemen were housed in Dhahran on June 25.

FBI Director Louis Freeh has made three trips to Saudi Arabia, the most recent last month, in an effort to gain better access to evidence for American investigators. The videotape falls short of what the FBI wanted.


The Saudis have told the FBI that the six suspects now in custody are members of an Islamic fundamentalist group called the Hezbollah Gulf, which is supported by Iran and believed responsible for the bombing, ABC reported.

Saudi sources said the suspects, all Saudi nationals, played only a supporting role in the bombing but would likely be executed without the FBI getting to interrogate them, ABC said.

Two of the suspects worked in Saudi customs and allegedly helped smuggle the explosives into the country, according to the ABC report.

Saudi investigators, in their interrogations of the six suspects, obtained details of a terrorist network supported from the outside, ABC said. The men allegedly were recruited by an Iranian intelligence agent while at a Shiite religious celebration in Syria, the report said.

The suspects were trained for more than a year and a half in Iran's holy city of Qom and at two Hezbollah training bases, it said. One base was located in the mountains near Latakia, Syria, and the other was in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, ABC said.


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