Khobar Towers Bombing Suspect Arrested In Beirut As Authorities Seek Answers To What Happened

Jinger Jarrett - Author
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Aug. 22 2017, Updated 4:32 a.m. ET

Ahmad Ibrahim al-Mughassil was captured in Lebanon after a Saudi-led operation led to his arrest. He was indicted in 2001 by a U.S. federal grand jury for the 1996 Kobar Towers bombing that led to the deaths of 19 Air Force Airmen in the eight-story Kobar Towers barracks complex used by the U.S. Air Force in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

As reported by CNN, the 19 U.S. airmen were killed on June 25, 1996, in Saudi Arabia when a truck bomb exploded shortly after 10 p.m. near the Khobar Towers. An additional 370 Americans and Saudi Arabians were injured that day.

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Currently, the U.S. military and police face threats of ISIS on U.S. soil as threats against U.S. personnel have increased. Four U.S. Marines and one sailor were killed in Chattanooga in a lone wolf attack in July. Governors in six states increased security to all National Guard facilities, and in some cases, personnel were allowed to carry firearms to protect themselves.

Most of the suspects involved in the bombing were arrested shortly after the bombing took place and were indicted in 2001. They were indicted on 46 counts and were alleged to have been members of Hezbollah. Al-Mughassil was one of the 14 men named in the indictment, 13 Saudi Arabians, and a Lebanese. Charges were also made that the terrorist attack was financed by the Iranian government. It is unclear what happened to the suspects after their indictment and arrest.

Ahmad Ibrahim al-Mughassil, 48, is the leader of the terror group Hezbollah al-Hejaz. Saudi Arabian intelligence had been zeroing in on al-Mughassil in recent months as the Saudi designated terrorist group operated within the Gulf state.

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According to Voice of America, the Federal Bureau of Investigation placed Ahmad Ibrahim al-Mughassil on the top 10 most wanted list of terrorists, and offered a $5 million reward for his arrest. In 2006, a U.S. judge concluded that Iran was responsible for the attack.

The arrest of al-Mughassil for the Kobar Towers bombing may bring new answers, according to James Jeffries, a former ambassador to Iraq and now a distinguished fellow at the Washing Institute for Near East Policy.

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“There is a very strong, direct red line leading from the rubble of al-Khobar to Tehran, and this guy might shed light on it because, from everything I’ve seen about him, he has a very deep relationship with Iran, with the Revolutionary Guards. And, that is my understanding from one who was in the region when that attack occurred and was trying to protect his post in Kuwait from a similar attack.”

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Will the capture of al-Mughassil bring new answers in the Kobar Towers bombing? Will it shed new light on how to stop terrorism?

[Photo Credit Getty Images]

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