Terror plot aimed at Makkah's Grand Mosque foiled

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Makkah Grand Mosque. (Arab News photo by Ahmad Hashad)
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Police officers and bystanders are seen inspecting the ruins of a building demolished by an explosion when a terrorist blew himself up in Makkah early Friday to avoid arrest. (SPA photo)
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Updated 24 June 2017

Terror plot aimed at Makkah's Grand Mosque foiled

MAKKAH: Security forces on Friday succeeded in thwarting an imminent terrorist act targeting the security of the Grand Mosque and worshippers by a group stationed in three locations, said the Interior Ministry.
The security spokesman explained that one of the sites was in the province of Jeddah, and the two others were in Makkah.
The first was in the neighborhood of Asilah, and the second in Ajyad Al-Masafi, located within the perimeter of the central area of the Grand Mosque, the spokesman said.
One site was a three-story house that contained the suicide bomber in charge of implementation. When the security men began to surround him, he fired at them, which required a response to him in order to neutralize his danger after refusing to respond to their calls to surrender.
He continued to shoot heavily before exploding himself, resulting in his death, the collapse of the building that he was in and the wounding of six expatriates who were taken to hospital, in addition to the injury of five security personnel with minor injuries.
The security spokesman said the security operation resulted in the arrest of five elements of the cell, including a woman, after raiding their positions.
The security authorities are still conducting their investigations, lifting the remaining evidence at the site of the explosion and verifying the identity of the suicide bomber.
The Interior Ministry confirmed that this terrorist network intended to violate the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth.
Security authorities confirmed to Arab News that the attacker blew himself up when surrounded by security men. The incident resulted in minor injuries to security men.
Sources also confirmed that before the incident, security men, on Friday morning, had arrested a wanted criminal at a house in Al-Asilah neighborhood in east Makkah. The criminal led authorities to the location of the terrorist in Ajyad Al-Masafi neighborhood, behind Al-Safwa Hotel.
In Jeddah, a terrorist was arrested by general intelligence after Special Emergency Forces had prepared to pursue him and approach him. However, he left his home, according to special security forces, and was followed by general intelligence men and arrested at a gas station in south Jeddah. His home was searched, where firearms and live ammunition was found.


US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 10 July 2020

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 


The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

 

 

“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.


The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.


“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.