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(回答先: 米企業(ハリバートン)を名指し非難 サウジのテロで犯行声明 [asahi.com] 投稿者 ひろ 日時 2004 年 5 月 30 日 08:52:09)
Militants Kill Foreign Hostages During Saudi Rescue
Sun May 30, 2004 05:44 AM ET
By Samia Nakhoul
KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi commandos freed dozens of foreign hostages in a raid on Sunday to end an attack on the Saudi oil industry launched by suspected al Qaeda militants who had earlier killed at least 17 foreigners. Security sources said several hostages had been killed during the rescue operation at the upscale Oasis housing compound after a 25-hour drama in the oil city of Khobar.
The unprecedented hostage-taking in the world's biggest crude exporter raised the stakes in the kingdom's year-long fight against followers of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
Saudi forces arrested the leader of the militant group and other gunmen in the raid on the vast complex after freeing about 50 hostages.
It was the second major attack on the oil industry in less than a month and prices could rise beyond $40 a barrel when markets reopen on Tuesday after a holiday.
"After Saudi security stormed the building where the militants were holding hostages, they (the gunmen) killed some hostages," a security source told Reuters.
He did not say how many had been killed or give their nationalities, but a manager at the compound said three foreigners were killed, including one American and one Briton.
The U.S. Embassy said it could not confirm the report. Exact details of the raid remained unclear.
Two militants were also killed during the rescue operation after which most of the hostages and residents were evacuated to hospitals and hotels, security sources said.
The standoff began on Saturday after the militants killed nine Saudis and at least eight foreigners.
The gunmen, in military uniforms, shot at Western oil firms and housing compounds before fleeing to the Oasis complex.
The body of a Briton was dragged through the streets, according to witnesses.
Saudi forces were combing the Oasis for explosives and fugitive militants, security sources said on Sunday. The Oasis manager said medics were looking after some hostages inside the complex.
The Saudi ambassador to Washington told Fox News seven Americans were among the freed hostages.
OIL SECTOR ON ALERT
Saudi Arabia vowed on Sunday to remain on high alert at all its oil facilities and said the kingdom's vast energy network was running as normal following the attack.
Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi was due to meet top Western oil executives in the nearby city of Dhahran later on Sunday to reassure them about security. One Western executive said he did not expect a mass exodus of expatriate oil workers.
An American, a Briton, an Egyptian, two Filipinos, an Indian and a Pakistani were killed in Saturday's shooting spree, along with two Saudis and seven security men, security sources said.
Witnesses said a Swedish cook was also killed.
A statement purportedly from al Qaeda was posted on Islamist Internet sites claiming responsibility for the attack, the third on foreigners in less than a month in the birthplace of Islam.
A British manager at oil investment firm Apicorp was among the dead, the company said. Witnesses said militants tied the body of the Briton to a car and dragged it down the streets before dumping it near a bridge.
Earlier this month the body of an American was dragged through the streets when militants killed five foreigners in an attack on a petrochemical site in the Red Sea town of Yanbu.
QAEDA STRIKES AGAIN
Al Qaeda has vowed to destabilize the country. In 1996, the then little known group chose Khobar, a city traditionally tolerant of expatriates, to mount one of its first major attacks, killing 19 U.S. soldiers at a compound.
Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah, vowed to crush the militants. "(The militants) want to harm the economy and foreigners," he said. "We will continue to chase this deviant group until we eradicate them."
Saturday's attack prompted Washington to reiterate a call for its citizens to leave Saudi Arabia. Britain repeated a warning to avoid all but essential travel to the kingdom.
The attackers first opened fire at the Al-Khobar Petroleum Center building, believed to house offices of major Western oil firms, before storming into compounds containing oil services offices and employees' homes, the security sources said.
Witnesses said the attackers drove cars with military markings into the Apicorp complex and opened fire. An Egyptian boy was killed when a school bus came under fire. They then went into two other compounds, including Oasis.
Employees of Shell, Honeywell and General Electric lived in one of the compounds. The Oasis residence has housed executives from leading oil firms Royal Dutch/Shell, Total and LUKOIL.
The attack occurred two days after a top al Qaeda leader, Abdulaziz al-Muqrin, issued plans for urban guerrilla warfare in the kingdom designed to topple the royal family.