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Middle East: Powell Says Saudi Blasts Have Al-Qaeda Hallmarks

Amman, 13 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says blasts targeting foreigners' residential compounds in the Saudi capital Riyadh late yesterday bore all the hallmarks of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. Powell was speaking at a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman today during a Middle East tour which is scheduled to take him to Saudi Arabia later in the day.

U.S. Embassy officials said more than 40 Americans were injured in three explosions late yesterday at the compounds housing Westerners in Riyadh.

There are unconfirmed reports of at least two American deaths.

Reports said a total of more than 60 people were injured.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz said in published remarks today that the explosions are believed to have been carried out by suicide bombers who drove cars filled with explosives into the compounds.

He said the attacks are believed to be linked to a terror cell uncovered in Riyadh last week and said to belong to Al-Qaeda.

The State Department says Powell's visit to Riyadh will go ahead despite the bombings.