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FBI chief's trip to Saudi Arabia indicates blast probe 'coming to a head'

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November 22, 1996
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EST (0430 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- FBI Director Louis Freeh headed to Saudi Arabia on Friday, a trip that indicates the investigation into the June 25 bombing that killed 19 U.S. servicemen is "coming to a head," a senior U.S. official told CNN.

The FBI said Freeh was making the trip, his third visit to the kingdom, at the invitation of the Saudi government.

"He will meet with senior Saudi leaders and hold additional discussions regarding the Saudi investigation, which the FBI is supporting," into the truck bombing at the U.S. military housing complex in Dhahran, the agency said in a statement.

The FBI said Freeh's visit "comes in the context of U.S. support for Saudi efforts to solve this heinous crime."

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The senior U.S. official told CNN the U.S. government had put a "close hold" on information about what Freeh would be doing, but that it was certain he was "not going just to do a status report."

"The issue is coming to a head," the official said.

Defense Secretary William Perry told reporters November 1 that the United States has not yet concluded who was responsible for the bombing. According to diplomatic sources at the time, Saudi authorities were holding 40 Saudi nationals believed to have been implicated in the bombing.

Correspondent Steve Hurst and Reuters contributed to this report.

 
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