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Riyadh blast toll mounts

Five are dead and at least 100 people, mainly children, have been wounded after three explosions rocked a residential housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Last Modified: 09 Nov 2003 12:42 GMT
At least five people have been reported dead

Five are dead and at least 100 people, mainly children, have been wounded after three explosions rocked a residential housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

At least five people, four Arabs and one Indian, were killed in the car bombing west of Riyadh at midnight on Saturday, a senior Saudi official said

"Three Lebanese, one Sudanese and one Indian" were killed in the blast at al-Muhaya complex, the official told French news agency AFP, requesting anonymity.

"So far, 99 people are known to have been wounded," he added.

Further details are still emerging from the scene but a Saudi journalist told Aljazeera that a shootout took place in the compound where the explosion occurred.

Abd al-Rahman al-Lahim reported from the scene of the explosion and said there was a large fire in the compound where he heard three blasts, only seconds apart

Al-Lahim added that the compound houses foreigners from various countries and said security forces have blocked off the area surrounding the compound, preventing people from entering.

Casualties

The blasts levelled at least 10
homes and reportedly killed many

Three US and three Canadian citizens, all of Arab descent, were among scores of people wounded a hospital source said.

Saudi Arabia's interior ministry confirmed the explosions, saying a "terrorist bombing" had hit the al-Muhaya residential compound.

"A terrorist bombing occurred at al-Muhaya residential compound west of Riyadh tonight," said an interior ministry official, cited by the official SPA news agency.

A Saudi security source said the blasts occurred about 10 km west of Riyadh at a compound used by Saudis and foreign, mainly Arab, workers.

The Riyadh blasts come one day after the United States warned of terrorist attacks and shut its missions in the kingdom.

US confirmation

A US Embassy spokeswoman confirmed the explosion, but said it was not in the diplomatic quarter. At least 10 homes were levelled by the blast.

The blast took place 10 km west
of Riyadh

Another diplomat said he got a call from a friend who reported seeing smoke rising from a building on the other side of the diplomatic quarter near an area where the palaces of the royal family's senior princes are located.

The US Embassy in Riyadh said on Friday that it had received "credible information that terrorists in Saudi Arabia have moved from the planning to operational phase of planned attacks in the kingdom."

A May attack on western residential compounds in Riyadh killed 35 people, including the nine attackers. Since then, Saudi authorities have arrested hundreds of suspected fighters throughout the country.

Source:
Agencies
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