Saudi Security Forces "Agreed to Let al-Qaeda Killers Escape"

(Telegraph-UK) Witnesses said Monday that the terrorists who killed 22 civilians in Saudi Arabia and took more than 40 people hostage were let out of the besieged compound by Saudi security forces. An employee at the compound in Khobar said a hostage told him he had heard the gunmen shouting that they would release captives if security forces let them go. Security forces at first refused, but agreed after the militants, who also threatened to blow up the building, began killing hostages. Time and again, when Saudi police have mounted raids on al-Qaeda suspects, many terrorists have been able to slip away as they did on Sunday. Last year al-Qaeda spent more than $500 million in maintaining its network in Saudi Arabia where it enjoys the support of a cross-section of Saudi society. Saudis acknowledge privately that al-Qaeda has infiltrated its security forces and military. The CIA concluded last year that al-Qaeda could draw from a pool of up to 10,000 Saudis for operations and logistics. The Khobar terrorists used military vehicles and uniforms to penetrate the secure areas.

2004-06-01 00:00:00

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