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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Al-Qaida Owns Up to Riyadh Blast

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- The al-Qaida terror network has claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing that killed at least 17 people and injured dozens in the Saudi capital, an Arab weekly that has received purported al-Qaida statements in the past said Tuesday.

"We struck Muhaya compound," the London-based weekly Al-Majalla quoted an e-mail from a purported al-Qaida operative identified as Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj as saying, referring to the residential compound attacked Saturday. It was the first claim of responsibility for the bombing.

The magazine, which appears on Fridays, said the e-mail was first seen late Monday and released a statement about it Tuesday.

The attack, the officials say, was similar to previous al-Qaida strikes.

Al-Majalla magazine began receiving e-mails from al-Ablaj earlier this year. A U.S. counterterrorism official has said al-Ablaj was believed to be a leading al-Qaida figure also known as Abu Bakr. Among al-Ablaj statements Al-Majalla has published in the past was one the magazine said it received before the string of bombings in U.S.-occupied Iraq in late October that said the terrorist network was preparing attacks against Americans during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The start of Ramadan coincided with the Iraq bombings.

The magazine also reported previously that it received an e-mail warning from al-Ablaj of attacks in Saudi Arabia a day before the May 12 suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia. Those bombings resembled Saturday's attack, hitting a residential compound housing foreigners and killing and wounding Arabs as well as Westerners.

The latest al-Ablaj e-mail addressed criticism that Saturday's strike hurt Arabs and Muslims, not Americans, saying al-Qaida also believed "working with Americans and mixing with them" was forbidden. Saturday night's car bombing was portrayed by Saudis as proof of al-Qaida's willingness to shed Arab and Muslim blood as well in its zeal to bring down the U.S.-linked Saudi monarchy. Al-Qaida, led by Saudi-born fugitive multimillionaire Osama bin Laden, has long opposed the Saudi royal family, accusing it of being insufficiently Islamic and too close to the West, particularly the United States.

At least 13 of those killed in Saturday's compound attack were Arabs, with four still unidentified, the Saudi official news agency quoted a Saudi Interior Ministry official as saying. Five were children. In addition, 122 people were injured, among them some Americans, but most of them Arab. The al-Ablaj e-mail said an al-Qaida member was killed in the attack. There has been no official word from Saudi authorities on how many how many attackers were killed Saturday, but the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat reported Tuesday that the investigation showed two people were in the car packed with explosives.

Following a Cabinet meeting Monday, King Fahd vowed to capture the "terrorists" behind the attack and their supporters. He said the kingdom "will strike with an iron fist all those who try to meddle with the security of the country and the stability and safety of its citizens and residents," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Hayat reported Tuesday that a number of suspects in Saturday's bombing have been arrested in the past two days by Saudi security agencies.