Saudi Arabia is denying media reports that its security forces have arrested
suspects in Saturday's suicide bombing of a Riyadh housing complex, which left
at least 17 people dead and about 120 injured. Meanwhile, a top Saudi religious
figure is calling the attack a flagrant aggression against Islam.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef told the official Saudi Press Agency that
there have been no arrests of anyone up to now.
He was speaking following earlier reports from Arab media and diplomats that
the search for suspects in Saturday's attacks on the al-Muhaya housing complex
had led to some arrests in and around the capital.
Saudi and U.S. authorities say they suspect that Saudi-born millionaire Osama
bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network is behind the attack, in which bombers
posing as police officers shot their way into the housing compound and blew
up their explosives-packed car.
The London-based Arab magazine al-Majjalla also reported this week
that a purported al-Qaida operative had claimed responsibility for the attack
and warned of more in the region.
Most of those killed and injured in the attack were Arab Muslims who work
in Saudi Arabia and their children. The attack came during the Muslim holy
month of Ramadan.
A senior Saudi religious figure has called the suicide attack a flagrant
aggression against Islam.
The kingdom's Islamic Affairs minister Saleh bin Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed
al-Sheik told Saudi state television the killing of people is one of the greatest
sins in Islam. The minister, who is the most senior Saudi religious authority
to speak out on the attack said, he who kills the faithful deliberately, his
punishment is eternal hell.
Saturday night's attack has been portrayed by Saudi officials as proof al-Qaida
is willing to shed even Arab and Muslim blood in its effort to overthrow the
Saudi monarchy. Al-Qaida accuses the Saudi royal family of not being truly
Islamic and being too close to the West.
The kingdom is on a campaign to rid the country of what it calls militants
belonging to, or linked with, al-Qaida.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose country suffered a decade of Muslim
militant attacks, has added his voice to continuing Arab and international
condemnation of Saturday's attack in Saudi Arabia.
President Mubarak called the attack tragic and said a whole family of Egyptians
was killed. He told a meeting of his ruling National Democratic Party in Cairo
that terrorism is absolutely repugnant in every sense, no matter what the objective