Report: Dhahran bombing mastermind hiding in Iran
March 29, 1997
Web posted at: 9:18 a.m. EST (1418 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The alleged mastermind behind a bombing that killed
19 U.S. airmen in Saudi Arabia has been living in Iran under
the protection of its government since the attack, Newsday
reported Saturday. The newspaper also hinted that Syria gave
tacit approval for the June 25 bombing near Dhahran.
Quoting unidentified American and Canadian intelligence
officials, Newsday reported that the suspect was
identified in a Canadian court document filed Thursday as
Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmad Mughassil, a Saudi Shiite.
Mughassil fled to Syria after the attack and crossed into
Iran, a U.S. counterterrorism specialist close to the bombing
investigation told Newsday. Since then, the source said,
Mughassil has been living "under the protection of, as a
guest of, the Iranian government."
A second source confirmed with the paper Mughassil's presence
in Iran, but, without elaboration, added that he and other
bombing suspects "may be moving around."
Both Iran and Syria have denied any connection to the
U.S. officials declined to comment on the reports and what
kind of response if any the Clinton administration is
Newsday said the Canadian document was filed in a deportation
hearing against another suspect in the case, Hani al-Sayegh,
28. Al-Sayegh allegedly drove the car that signaled the
go-ahead to the driver of the fuel truck, which was packed
with explosives. He is also linked to a branch of the
Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement.
The New York Times reported Saturday that there are no more
than several hundred members of the Saudi Hezbollah, but
Western officials believe the group has carried out at least
four other attacks -- three on Saudi diplomats overseas and
one on a Saudi gas plant.
Court proceedings for Al-Sayegh are scheduled for April 28.
Special section: CNN Interactive Exclusive
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.