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CNN BREAKING NEWS

10 Dead in Saudi Bombings

Aired May 13, 2003 - 05:46   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The deadly terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia is the top priority, of course, for our international desk this morning.
With us now for more on the attack is our senior international editor David Clinch.

And put this in perspective for us, what does this mean?

DAVID CLINCH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL EDITOR: Yes, Carol, good morning.

Well, it means lots of things on lots of different levels. I mean one of the things that I think is most important to keep in mind as we cover this story is, as some of the people we were talking to in Saudi Arabia were talking about earlier, there were multiple warnings on multiple levels here.

The U.S. was warning of travel in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabians were warning of terrorist attacks being planned within Saudi Arabia. They were actually searching for a group of suspected terrorists within the last week or so. Al Qaeda itself has issued warnings in Saudi Arabia in newspapers there and around the world of pending attacks. And as the people said there, there was nothing that could have been done, or apparently nothing that could have been done.

There are reports that some of the bombs, the car bombs, were unable to get into the compounds themselves. They may still have been on the outside. But when we talk about compounds, these are places where people live. I mean think of basically a beefed-up gated community, that's what these things are.

I've been looking on the Web sites for these places where Westerners live in Riyadh and they're beautiful, luxurious places. There's not much you can do to perfect -- protect people building more walls and more walls and more walls. And as that person just said you were speaking to there, some of them are going to leave. They're going to leave.

COSTELLO: Yes, not only is she going to leave, but she also said that many people ignored the warnings because they hear them all the time.

CLINCH: Absolutely. Absolutely.

COSTELLO: And we can relate to that in the United States as well. CLINCH: Absolutely. How much security can you put in place?

Now the other things to remember as we cover this story are that the terrorists in attacking these sites are making two or three points. One, civilians are targets too, not just military. And some of these people may have ties to the military, supporting the military in some form or another, but the U.S. and the Saudi military.

The other point is that despite the recently announced plan to remove a lot of the U.S. military from Saudi Arabia, the al Qaeda saying that the Americans who are there are still a target and also that Saudi Arabia is still a target. We forget this sometimes, but Saudi Arabia right up there on the list for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda as an enemy. The leadership there, the Royal Family there very much a target and the internal dynamic in Saudi Arabia.

Then the third point, of course, is that with Powell coming today, in fact he's just arrived and we'll be covering his visit there, he's there for the next few hours, the whole U.S. policy in the region is a target, not just him visiting, but what the U.S. has done in Iraq, what they are hoping to try and do in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Not just the negative things from the terrorist point of view, but even what could be called the positive things with the peace process. Terrorists are not interested in a peace process, they're interested in one thing and one thing alone and that is attacking the U.S.

COSTELLO: Exactly, and I know that the FBI and the CIA are now in Saudi Arabia and they'll work with officials...

CLINCH: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: ... there to find out...

CLINCH: They will. And again, hoping for much, much better cooperation from the Saudis then they've had in the past. But again, the problem for the Saudis is the closer they're seen to be with the U.S., the more difficult it is for them internally.

COSTELLO: Understand. We'll talk much more about this throughout the -- well actually, throughout the day on CNN.

CLINCH: Absolutely. Yes.

COSTELLO: Thanks a lot -- David.

CLINCH: OK.

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