DEBKA claims the Saudi attack was aimed at the royal family. This
was the first attempt by Osama bin Laden’s organization to assassinate
a member of the Saudi royal family. It is a pivotal event in that it
sharply escalates the terrorist offensive besetting the kingdom and
raises the stakes on both sides.
I concur that the royal family is indeed in the crosshairs.

According to DEBKAfile’s counter terror
sources, the first of the three blasts occurred at 20:35 local time in
a traffic tunnel in the town center through which Prince Mohammed’s
convoy drove to his office. Al Qaeda operatives had spied on him and
detonated the bomb car in the opposite lane as the prince’s car drove
past. Because of the heavy Saudi news blackout, it cannot be
established for sure if his five bodyguards were killed or injured.

Mohammed was on his way to a nocturnal
conference with Saudi security and intelligence chiefs on the next
stage of the crackdown on terrorists. Al Qaeda was in possession of the
highly classified information on the time and place of the conference,
the fact that Mohammed would be there to preside, and the route he
would take to get there. This information also enabled the planners of
the attack to prepare back-up plans in case Mohammed survived the
tunnel blast. The second bomb car was therefore detonated, again by
remote control, at the reinforced gates of the high-rise interior
ministry building, while gunmen rained automatic fire on the entrance
and parking lot. They hoped this second attempt would nail the prince
as he stepped out of his car.
It was this blast that rocked
the interior ministry building in the Murabaa district, shattered
windows in the nearby post office, shops and post office and damaged
But again their victim escaped.

Half an hour later and 8 km away, a third car
blew up at the Saudi special forces recruiting center, the royal
house’s primary fighting unit against al Qaeda. This time, two suicide
bombers with bomb belts began hurling their explosives-laden car
towards the gates, only to be repulsed by fierce fire from the guards.
Although the car blew up short of the gates, it carried enough
explosives to kill or injure a dozen Saudi officers inside the

The third failed attempt to murder Prince
Mohammed also drew on the contents of the most secret contingency plans
to send senior royals and their families to secure shelters if their
lives were threatened. Mohammed’s protected hideout was to be the
special forces recruiting center. Al Qaeda knew enough to waylay him

[John Robb's Weblog]

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