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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Al Qaeda Believed Behind Fatal Attacks in Riyadh

Aired May 20, 2003 - 14:22   ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: This just coming in to CNN: With the heightened alert taking place in Saudi Arabia after those terrorist attacks last week, we are told an arrest has been made.
We will go to our Sheila MacVicar. She's on the phone with us, via Riyadh -- Sheila.

SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were three people arrested late yesterday afternoon, early yesterday evening at the airport in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.

Now there is some conflicting information about the importance of these arrests. There are some reports that the people who are arrested have been linked to Al Qaeda. Other reports which are suggesting that perhaps these arrests are not at all important, and we have no information which ties these three individuals to either the attack which is took place last week, or any attacks which may be in the planning stages now.

This comes at a time, of course, when there is a heightened state of security throughout Saudi Arabia. We are told by Saudi intelligence sources that this is the highest state of alert seen in the kingdom.

In addition to that, it comes at a time when we are hearing from numerous sources, Saudi sources and U.S. government sources, that there is an increase in what is called electronic chatter picked up by eavesdropping equipment here and around the globe, which suggests to intelligence analysts that there may be some unspecified attacks in the planning stages. That is the reason why a number of embassies, including the U.S. embassy here in Riyadh, have made the decision to close the embassy and the consulate, at least until Sunday.

The U.S. embassy is putting out a message a few hours ago, saying that there was credible information that further terrorist attacks are being planned against unspecified targets in Saudi Arabia, and in response to information that some strikes may be imminent, the embassy and the consulates will be closing, at least until Sunday.

PHILLIPS: All right, our Sheila MacVicar, via Riyadh there, this comes just after last week with the warning that a possible attack in Jeddah could take place. Three possible Al Qaeda members arrested there.

Sheila MacVicar, live from Riyadh. Thank you. We'll continue to follow that story there.

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