Saudis identify Al Qaida car
as bomb waiting to explode

Monday, February 16, 2004

ABU DHABI In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia has warned its citizens of an imminent Al Qaida attack and has identified a car they say is about to explode.

Saudi authorities said Al Qaida has prepared a car bomb for an attack in Riyad. They have called on citizens to be on the lookout for such a vehicle.

The ministry identified the vehicle as a burgundy 1991 GMC Suburban with the licence plate number 034. The ministry said the vehicle last seen in Al Rabwa area in eastern Riyad.

[Earlier, Saudi authorities arrested a chemistry teacher on suspicion of links to Al Qaida, Middle East Newsline reported. The Okaz daily said the high school teacher, identified only as Al Shihri, was found with weapons and material for making explosives in the Asir region.]

The Saudi Interior Ministry said the car laden with explosives was registered to a fugitive sought by authorities. They also said the car was last seen in eastern Riyad in a section known for its Al Qaida sympathies.

"The Interior Ministry would like to notify both citizens and residents, especially in Riyad, that we have confirmed information that a vehicle registered in the name of one of the suspects has been equipped with a large quantity of explosives to be used in a criminal act," the ministry said in a statement carried by radio and television.

Saudi police and security forces have increased their presence around Riyad. They were said to be on high alert in the Saudi capital since Wednesday and monitoring all those entering diplomatic quarters of the city.

On Saturday, U.S. Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid met Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in Riyad. The two sides were said to have discussed military and security cooperation.

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