SLUG: 2-304806 Saudi Terror
TITLE=SAUDI / TERRORISM (S)
INTRO: Officials in Saudi Arabia say a suspected mastermind of the suicide bombings in May that killed 35 people in Riyadh, nine of them U-S nationals, is now in custody. James Martone has details from V-O-A's Middle East Bureau in Cairo.
TEXT: Saudi officials say they have detained the alleged mastermind of the May 12th car bomb attacks that ripped apart buildings and homes inhabited by Americans in the Saudi capital.
U-S officials have identified Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi, also known as Abu Bakr, as one of the most senior Saudi-based operatives in Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.
They say Mr. Ghamdi did not surrender, but was arrested, and that he had been plotting more attacks on U-S targets in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Ghamdi's arrest will hamper the network's operations there, the U-S officials add.
The attacks in its capital have increased pressure on Saudi Arabia to intensify its crackdown on Saudi-based al-Qaida elements and those who help finance the group, blamed for the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States.
Since the May suicide bombings, raids on suspected terrorist cells, including in the holy Muslim city of Mecca, have led to the arrest of more than 40 people. U-S teams are believed to be assisting in the arrests, but their role in Mr. Ghamdi's apprehension is
unclear immediately. (Signed)
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