On 05/12/2003 evening, at about 23:30 local time, three car bombs, two of them also loaded with heavily armed gunmen, disguised as Saudi official security personnel, attacked the guard of a three neighboring residence compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, inhabited also by many foreigners. The three compounds were the Dorrat Al Jadawel, a compound owned by the London based MBI international, the Al Hamra Oasis Village, and the Ninnell Corporation Compound, a compound owned by a Virginia-based defense contractor company that was training the Saudi National Guard. All contained large numbers of Americans and Westerners.
In Dorrat Al Jadawel one of the security guard, under heavy fire, managed to secure the gates before fleeing, while the terrorists were still attempting to get inside the compound, their massive explosive charge suddenly detonated, killing all of the attackers and a Filipino worker.
In the two other compounds, in full coordination with the shootout attack, the two car bombs driven by suicide bombers broke into the compounds and exploded. About 35 people were killed in the multiple attacks and about 160 wounded.
The investigation uncovered that the attack was organized and coordinated by Ali Faqasi al-Ghamdi , arrested in 07/2003, and Abdel Karim Mejjati, a 37 years old Moroccan and a senior Al Qaeda operational officer. He became wanted in Morocco also for facilitating the Casablanca Bombings 4 days later. Abdel Karim Mejjati was killed in Saudi Arabia on 04/03/2005.
The attack was led by Khalid al-Juhani and the authorities managed to identify, through DNA samples, 11 of the attackers - all members of clans and tribes known in their connection to Al Qaeda, such as the Al-Ghamdi, Al-Shehri, Al-Dosari or Al-Mutairi. One of the perpetrators Hazem Mohammed Saeed Kashmiri was the son of a retired Saudi security service general. Many of the suicide attackers left behind farewell footages in which they explained their main motives as a deep objection to the presence of USA on Saudi Arabia soil.
Five of the killed perpetrators appeared in the list of 19 most-wanted terrorists, which was published in Saudi Arabia just a week before the attack, on 05/05/2003.
* In the days before the attack few shootouts breached in the close neighborhood between Saudi anti-terror police units and radical Islamists affiliated to Al Qaeda.
* Shortly after the attack the Saudi Police arrested three Islamic scholars: Sheikh Nasser Al-Fahd, who ruled against providing information to security forces about the 19 wanted suspects announced by the Interior Ministry a week before the Riyadh bombings; Ali Al-Khudair, who recanted and denounced terrorism on Saudi television after the attack, and Ahmad Al-Khaledi. All three denounced the attack, including publicly in TV, and said they support attacks against American but not if it results the death of Muslim life (see - Saudi-repents).
* On 01/09/2004 the Swiss police arrested 8 suspects, coming from the Middle East, as suspects in facilitating the Riyadh suicide attacks (aee - Swiss-Cell).
Given the Casablanca Bombings 4 days later, the connection between the two attacks through Abdel Karim Mejjati and the background of many of the perpetrators in Al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan, it is most likely that the two attacks - in Casablanca, Morocco and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - against Western targets, in pro Western Muslim States, were a coordinated attempt to challenge the legitimacy of those regimes and their alliance with USA.
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