9/11 plotters tied to schemes in Riyadh

July 7, 2011 at 12:46 PM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, July 7 (UPI) -- The masterminds of the Sept.11, 2001, al-Qaida attack on the United States were tied to a 2003 plot on an oil company in Saudi Arabia, a court heard.

A special criminal court in Riyadh is the site of the trial of 18 defendants tied to the bombing of a compound in the Saudi capital in 2003 that left 35 people dead and more than 160 wounded.

None of the defendants in the trial were identified by name. London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported that it received information that Sept. 11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, were tied to 2003 plots on Saudi Aramco during the hearings.

One of the defendants reportedly received orders from both al-Qaida leaders to attack the energy sector in Saudi Arabia. He allegedly received the orders while training in Afghanistan where he pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden, the London newspaper reports.

Charges for the 18 defendants range from murder to treason.

Mohammed was captured in Pakistan in 2003. Bin al-Shibh was captured in Pakistan one year after the Sept. 11 attacks. Both are in custody at the U.S. naval detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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