Saudi sentences 3 suspected militants to death for 2003 bombing
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RIYADH: A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced three men to death and jailed two others for up to 17 years for their part in a series of militant attacks including the deadly bombing of a foreign housing compound in 2003, state news agency SPA reported.

SPA said that, among other charges, a man identified by the court as “suspect number one” was convicted of involvement in the bombing of the al-Muhaya compound, where expatriates lived, in the capital Riyadh, one of a series of Al-Qaeda attacks in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia faced a militant insurgency from 2003 to 2006 in which Al-Qaeda targeted residential compounds for foreign workers and Saudi government facilities, killing dozens of people.

The kingdom responded by arresting thousands of suspected militants and launching a media campaign to discredit their ideology with the backing of influential clerics and tribal leaders.

In the 2003 attack, suspected Al-Qaeda suicide bombers posing as Saudi police blew up their explosives-laden car in a Riyadh compound housing mostly Arab foreigners, killing 11 people and wounding 122, including 36 children.

The charges in the case also included belonging to an Al-Qaeda-linked cell, firing on policemen, loading cars with explosives to use in “terrorist” attacks and possessing weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and SAM-7 rockets, SPA reported late on Thursday.

Although convicted, one of the two men sentenced to a prison term will be released after serving time behind bars pending the trial, due to health considerations.

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