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Saudis vow terror crackdown

Officials suspect al Qaeda behind attacks

The compounds attacked are home to many Western defense contractors
The compounds attacked are home to many Western defense contractors

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U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell: 'Cowardly individuals' behind the attacks.
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Suspicions of al Qaeda link in bombings.
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Witness: Gunfire and explosion.
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Family members concerned about Americans in Riyadh may contact the U.S. Department of State from inside the U.S. at (888) 407-4747

Or from outside the U.S at
(317) 472-2328.
• Interactive: The hunt for al Qaeda
• Audio slide show: Bin Laden's audio message, 2/03
• Special report: Terror on tape
• Special report: War against terror

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) -- Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has condemned the Riyadh bomb blasts as the work of "monsters," and vowed to "destroy" the terrorist group that carried out the attacks.

"All the Saudi people will be confronting those criminals and killers," Abdullah said in a six-minute address to the nation. "There is no place for terror, but there is a place for decisive deterrence against them and to any ideology that feeds them."

Meanwhile, knowledgeable U.S. officials say there is evidence al Qaeda terrorists are plotting a number of additional attacks in the wake of the attacks in Riyadh.

"We're very concerned about additional attacks," a U.S. official told. He declined to be more specific.

At least 30 people, nine of whom were the suicide terrorists, have died in the attacks with the toll expected to mount due to the large number of severely injured victims.

Citing Islam's holy book the Quran, Abdullah said there was no justification for such murderous act.

"Those people will have a destiny that is very harsh in hellfire," the crown prince said.

Abdullah accused a "few that are deviant" of trying to destabilize the country and region.

"If those killers, those criminals believe that their bloody criminal acts will shake even one hair off the body of our nation and its unity, then they are deceiving themselves," he said. (Full story)

U.S. President George W. Bush earlier warned those responsible for the terror attacks would "learn the meaning of American justice."

Eight Americans are thought to have been killed in the blasts, as well as two Jordanian children, Filipinos, Swiss, Saudis, Lebanese and an Australian.

Up to 200 people were also injured, mostly with minor injuries.

From Australia, a government spokeswoman said a 39-year-old Sydney man, who worked for a computer company in Riyadh, had died in the blasts and a 28-year-old Sydney man had been injured.

Bush said: "These despicable acts were committed by killers whose only faith is hate. And the United States will find the killers, and they will learn the meaning of American justice.

"[The] attacks in Saudi Arabia, the ruthless murder of American citizens and other citizens, remind us that the war on terror continues."

The attacks happened after two trucks shot their way through the compound gates late Monday. (More on the scene)

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who continued with his visit to Saudi Arabia despite the attacks occurring only hours before his scheduled trip, said the attack had been well-planned.

He also said the attack bore "all the hallmarks of an al Qaeda operation."

The compounds are home to many Western defense contractors, and advisers to the Saudi Arabia National Guard and other military units.

Fifteen of the 19 suspected suicide hijackers involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were from Saudi Arabia, as is suspected al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The explosions followed recent U.S. government warnings about possible terror attacks against Americans in the kingdom.

Last week, the Saudi government published a list of 19 men,17 of whom are Saudi citizens, on suspicion of planning attacks.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef told a Riyadh newspaper Tuesday that those suspects were behind Monday's bombings.

The suspects had fled after a shootout with security forces in Riyadh last Tuesday, according to police. Two days later, Saudi authorities seized tonnes of explosives and equipment near the bombed compounds.

Other developments

•  Al-Majallah, a London-based Saudi newspaper, reported that it received a weekend e-mail message said to be from an al Qaeda member that implied that the attacks were an al Qaeda operation. The e-mail's reputed author, Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, said in the message that he had "been planning major operations for a long time in the Gulf. A U.S. official called the message "credible." U.S. intelligence officials say a man by the name al-Ablaj, also known as Abu Bakr, is a well-known al Qaeda operative.

• The U.S. State Department is expected to move to an "ordered departure" of all non-essential U.S. personnel and their family members in Saudi Arabia, State Department officials tell CNN. The move would cover the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh and the two consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran.

•  Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that the Riyadh bombings and an attack Monday on Chechen government buildings that killed 52 people show the continuing need for a global fight against terrorism. "The handwriting of the terrorist acts in Chechnya and Saudi Arabia is absolutely the same," Putin, quoted by the Interfax news agency, said. ( World reaction)

-- CNN State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel, Senior White House Correspondent John King, producer Elise Labott, National Security correspondent David Ensor, Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler, Correspondent Rula Amin contributed to this report.

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