Saudi Arabia is still investigating the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing
which killed 19 U.S. servicemen and is still not sure who was
responsible, Interior Minister Prince Nayef said yesterday. Prince
Nayef was responding to a CBS News report on Friday that said U.S.
investigators had identified a senior Iranian official as one of some
two dozen suspects in the bombing of the military complex.
"We are not concerned with what others say. We insist that since
the incident happened in the kingdom, we are the ones concerned with
it," Prince Nayef told a news conference. "We cannot say,
until now, that a specific side was behind that incident. There are
basic and important elements that need to be investigated...And once
that is done we will announce the results." CBS, citing unnamed
sources, said federal investigators had identified Ahmad Sherif, a
senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as one of those
responsible for planning and carrying out the attack in Dhahran. CBS
said several of the suspects linked to the attack were believed to be
in Iran. The FBI could not be reached for comment on the report.
In January, Prince Nayef said a handful of Saudi nationals had been
detained for links to the bombing but that the main suspects were
still at large. He confirmed suspected links between Saudi dissident
Hani Al Sayegh - extradited from the United States - and the bombing.
The Saudi interior minister has repeatedly refused to point a finger
of blame in the bombing of the military complex housing U.S. troops,
saying that the kingdom needed to complete its investigation first.
Prince Nayef also said the kingdom had information on the people who
ordered recent bombings in Riyadh that killed a Briton and injured
He told a news conference that three detained Westerners - who
appeared on Saudi television earlier this month confessing to the two
bombings in November - had given information that would lead to those
who ordered the blasts. "What the bombers have said indicates
that there are definitely parties, who could be individuals of other
nationalities, behind this act," Prince Nayef said.
"We have at hand (information) that will enable us to arrive at
(the identity) of these parties. God willing, we will know all the
facts of these two bombings and we will then reveal all that we
know," he added. The three Westerners - a Briton, a Canadian and
Belgian man - said in their televised confessions that they received
orders to carry out the bombings, but did not say who gave the orders
They face execution if convicted under Saudi Arabia's Islamic sharia
law, which normally stipulates public beheading of murderers, rapists
and drug smugglers. Some Saudi newspapers have linked the bombings to
illegal activities, including trading in alcohol, which is banned in