Lebanon arrests suspect in 1996 Saudi Khobar bombing

Lebanon arrests suspect in 1996 Saudi Khobar bombing
Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mughassil was arrested in Beirut 19 years after the Khobar Towers attack, which killed 19 US servicemen, in a joint operation between Saudi intelligence and Lebanese security.
2 min read
26 August, 2015
Nineteen US servicemen died in the 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers residential complex [Getty]

The main suspect in the bombing of a residential building US military base in Saudi Arabia has been captured in Lebanon after 19 years on the run, Lebanese security sources told al-Araby al-Jadeed on Wednesday.

Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, the 48 year old leader of the group Hizballah al-Hejaz (The Party of God in the Arabian peninsula), was captured in the Lebanese capital Beirut in an operation based on information received by Saudi intelligence.

The sources said Mughassil was captured in cooperation with Lebanese security after information indicated he had arrived in Lebanon from Tehran.

They added he had already been transported by private plane to Haer prison in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The 25 June 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers residence at a US base in Khobar killed 19 US servicemen and wounded almost 500 of various nationalities.

In 2001 a US court indicted 14 in connection with the attack, naming Mughassil as the mastermind behind the attack and the man who drove the sewage tanker truck, loaded with more than a ton of high explosives.

Saudi Arabia and the US accused Iran of involvement in the attack, however then-president Mohammed Khatami denied the allegations and Iranian officials blamed al-Qaeda for the attack.

Mughassil is believed to have been in Iran since he was identified as the mastermind behind the attacks.

Hizballah al-Hijaz is believed to have ties to Iran, Syria and Lebanese Hizballah, and is believed to have been active in Saudi Arabia since 1978.