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Riyadh compound bombings
Location Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Date May 12, 2003
Target Three compounds frequented by Westerners
Attack type suicide attack
Death(s) 35
Injured >160

The Riyadh compound bombings took place on May 12, 2003, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Altogether, some 35 people were killed, and over 160 wounded. A smaller campaign of insurgency in Saudi Arabia had started in November 2000 when car bombings were carried out targeting and killing individual expatriates in Riyadh and other cities.

Early in May 2003, the US State Department warned that terrorists were in the final stages of planning terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government also warned of this, and issued an alert for 19 men believed to be planning attacks.


The attack

Late on May 12, while much of Riyadh was asleep, four vehicles drove through Riyadh; two cars, a pickup, and an SUV. Two carried heavily armed assault teams and three of them were packed with explosives. Their targets were three compounds: The Dorrat Al Jadawel, a compound owned by the London based MBI International and Partners subsidiary Jadawel International, the Al Hamra Oasis Village, and the Vinnell Corporation Compound, a compound owned by a Virginia-based defense contractor that was training the Saudi National Guard. All contained large numbers of Americans, Westerners, and non-Saudi Arabs.

Around 11:15 PM, a car packed with explosives and five or six terrorists, quietly attempted to gain entry to the Jadawel compound's back gate area. As the guards approached to inspect the vehicle, the terrorists suddenly opened fire, immediately killing one Saudi Air Force policeman and one unarmed Saudi civilian security guard. The attackers sprayed gunfire wildly as they assaulted the inner compound gate, wounding two other unarmed security guards, one of whom 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.

At the Al Hamra Oasis Village and the Vinnell Corp. compound, the assault teams shot at the security guards outside the compound gates and forced their way through the gates. They then detonated both of their bombs, devastating the compounds; after which they proceeded to open fire and kill a number of residents.


US President George W. Bush was informed of the attacks while on a national trip, and called them "ruthless murder". Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah condemned the attacks as the work of "monsters" and vowed to destroy the terrorist group that ordered them. After the attacks, Saudi Arabia began a harsh crackdown on the insurgency, arresting more than 600 terrorist suspects and seizing bomb equipment, guns, bomb belts, and thousands of weapons meant for a terrorist campaign around the kingdom.

On June 7, 2003 an official Saudi statement[1] identified twelve men as the perpetrators of this attack. According that statement, the identification was based on DNA found at the scene. The names were Khaled Muhammad bin Muslim Al-Arawi Al-Juhani, Muhammed Othman Abdullah Al-Walidi Al-Shehri, Hani Saeed Ahmad Al Abdul-Karim Al-Ghamdi, Jubran Ali Ahmad Hakami Khabrani, Khaled bin Ibrahim Mahmoud , Mehmas bin Muhammed Mehmas Al-Hawashleh Al-Dosari, Muhammed bin Shadhaf Ali Al-Mahzoum Al-Shehri, Hazem Muhammed Saeed Kashmiri, Majed Abdullah Sa'ad bin Okail, Bandar bin Abdul-Rahman Menawer Al-Rahimi Al-Mutairi, Abdul-Karim Muhammed Jubran Yazji, and Abdullah Farres bin Jufain Al-Rahimi Al-Mutairi.

Abdul Rahman Jabarah was killed in a gunfight with Saudi security forces, believed to have been involved in the attack, as was Zubayr Al-Rimi.

There was one more large-scale attack in Saudi Arabia in 2003. On November 8, on the day the US State Department warned of further attacks in that country, a suicide truck bomb detonated outside the Al-Mohaya housing compound in Laban Valley, West of Riyadh, killing 18 people and wounding 122. Those killed in the attack were all Arabs, many of them workers from countries such as Egypt and Lebanon. Among the injured were people from India, Bangladesh, Philippines, and Eritrea.


Altogether at least 27 people died from several different countries:

In addition, nine suicide bombers died, bringing the entire toll from the attacks to 36. More than 160 other people were injured, including more than two dozen Americans.

In October 2003, as-Sahab released the videotaped wills of the bombers Abu Umar al-Ta'ifi (also known as Hazem al-Kashmiri), Muhammad bin Shazzaf al-Shahri (also known as Abu Tareq al-Asswad) and Muhammad bin Ad al-Wahhab al-Maqit, recorded two weeks before the attacks.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Riyadh names 12 perpetrators
  2. ^ Weimann, Gabriel. "Terror on the Internet", 2006. p. 45 & 62

External links

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