9/11 `mastermind` accused of Aramco attack plan

Eighty-five suspects are on trial in a Saudi security court in connection with deadly attacks.

Riyadh: The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, also plotted to attack Saudi state oil giant Aramco, the kingdom`s attorney general said at a hearing in the trial of al Qaeda suspects.

Mohammed and alleged co-conspirator Ramzi Binalshibh, currently on trial in the United States, had "planned an attack on Aramco" with one of the suspects on trial, the prosecutor said, according to a source who attended yesterday`s hearing.

Eighty-five suspects are on trial in a special Saudi security court in connection with deadly attacks carried out in the kingdom.

The defendants face charges of belonging to al Qaeda, of taking part in attacks on public buildings and residential compounds, and of smuggling and possession of weapons, state news agency SPA reported last month.

Thirteen of the group are accused of participating in the May 2003 car bombings of three residential compounds that left 129 people dead or wounded, including women and children, SPA said.

Nine US nationals were among 35 of those killed.

The arrests of the 85 suspects had foiled plots to attack two air bases, a residential compound in the Eastern Province of the Gulf state and on Aramco.

In April, a judicial source said a total of 5,080 terrorist suspects either faced trial or had already been tried before the special court which has come in for criticism from lawyers.


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