19 Dead, 80 Hospitalized in Terror Attack in Saudi

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service


	WASHINGTON -- Nineteen American service members were 

killed and hundreds injured by a terrorist attack on a 

military housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

	Terrorists exploded what officials estimate was a 

5,000-pound bomb planted in a fuel truck near the Khobar 

Towers -- a complex of 10-story buildings housing foreign 

military service members including Americans near the Abdul 

Aziz Air Base. One building was destroyed, another heavily 

damaged, said Pentagon officials.

	Air Force service members in the complex are assigned 

to the 4404th Provisional Wing; most were in country on 

temporary duty. They are members of the 33rd Fighter Wing, 

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; 388th Fighter Wing, Hill Air 

Force Base, Utah; 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, 

S.C.; 27th Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. and the 

314th Air Wing, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The Army's 

6th Battalion 52nd Air Defense Artillery and elements of the 

54th Signal Battalion were in the area, but there were no 

Army casualties, officials said.

	Air Force families with concerns can call (800) 253-

9276 for information.

	U.S. service members at the base support Operation 

Southern Watch, which enforces the no-fly, no-drive zone 

south of the 32nd parallel in Iraq.

	The bomb exploded at about 10 p.m. Saudi time. An Air 

Force security police officer observed the truck drive up to 

a security barrier about 35 meters from the building. The 

officer immediately notified U.S. and Saudi security 

personnel and started evacuation of the building. 

	However, as a Saudi patrol approached, two men leaped 

out of the truck and sped off in a car. The bomb exploded 

within four minutes of the truck being spotted, leaving 

little time for evacuation, DoD officials said. The 

explosion left a crater 85 feet long and 35 feet deep. A 

senior DoD official said that without the security in place, 

the casualty count would have been much higher.

	President Clinton condemned the attack and said the 

murderers who committed the act must be punished. Clinton, 

after consulting with Saudi officials, sent an FBI team to 

the country to aid the investigation. He extended 

condolences to the families and friends of those killed or 

hurt in the blast and promised, "We will pursue this. 

America takes care of our own. Those who did it must not go 


	Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili 

said he was saddened by the loss of life and numerous 

injuries. Shalikashvili had just returned from visiting the 

area and had met many of the service members living at 

Khobar Towers. 

	"Far from home, they were performing the mission our 

country had asked of them with professionalism and 

dedication," he said. "They were extraordinary ambassadors 

of peace, and I was proud of what they were doing for 


	This was the second terrorist act directed against U.S. 

service members based in Saudi Arabia in the past year. In 

November, terrorists struck in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, 

killing four Americans and two Indians. Saudi officials 

beheaded four men charged with the attack last month.