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Thursday, August 27

Mastermind of Iran-backed 1996 bombing of US Air Force dorm Khobar Towers captured

"The 209-page ruling found that the truck bomb involved in the attack was assembled at a base in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley operated by Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards, and the attack was approved by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."

I'm thinking of John O'Neill right now....  

Mastermind Of Khobar Towers Bombing Captured After 20 Years
By Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
With additional reporting from Reuters and Associated Press
August 27, 2015

A man described as the mastermind of the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers U.S. military residence in Saudi Arabia has been captured after nearly 20 years on the run, officials said August 26.

Ahmed al-Mughassil, leader of the Saudi Hezbollah group and one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists with a $5 million bounty on his head, was under indictment for the attack on a U.S. Air Force dormitory that killed 19 U.S. service personnel and wounded almost 500 people.

Mughassil, also known as Abu Omran, was captured in the Lebanese capital Beirut two weeks ago after traveling there from Iran, and transferred to Riyadh, U.S. and Saudi officials said. Saudi intelligence believes that four other suspects wanted in the bombing are living in Iran.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of orchestrating the devastating truck-bomb attack. Iran has denied any responsibility.

In 2006, a U.S. federal judge ordered Iran to pay $254 million to the families of 17 U.S. service personnel killed in the attack in a judgment entered against the Iranian government, its security ministry, and the Revolutionary Guards.

The 209-page ruling found that the truck bomb involved in the attack was assembled at a base in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley operated by Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards, and the attack was approved by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The militant group Hezbollah Al-Hejaz confirmed that the suspect Mughassil, a 48-year-old Saudi, was stopped by security officials at Beirut airport and detained on August 7.

The Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat called the capture of Mughassil an "achievement, for the man had been in disguise in a way that made it hard to identify him."

[...]

In the 1996 bombing, militants parked a fuel tanker truck just outside the shallow perimeter of the Khobar Towers apartment complex, 85 feet from one of the eight-story dormitories. The blast tore the face off one side of the building, leaving a massive crater.

Three other Saudis are still on the FBI's most-wanted list for the attack: Ali al-Hoorie, Abdelkarim al-Nasser, and Ibrahim al-Yacoub.

Nine other Saudis have been imprisoned in the kingdom for the past 19 years after secret trials with unknown verdicts in connection with the attack, Matthiesen said. It's unclear whether Mughassil will face a similar trial or be given one in a special court handling terrorism cases.

[END REPORT]

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