WASHINGTON (AP) _ Fourteen people will be indicted in the 1996 bombing that killed 19 American servicemen in Saudi Arabia, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The indictments were to be announced by Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Louis Freeh. Two U.S. officials, asking not to be identified, said a draft federal grand jury indictment named 13 Saudis and a Lebanese.
The indictment comes four days before the fifth anniversary of the bombing on June 25, 1996, a terrorist attack that shocked and angered Americans and prompted the Air Force to be more vigilant about protecting troops abroad.
The U.S. airmen were killed and 300 other people were injured when a truck bomb exploded outside the Khobar Towers, their military housing complex near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The explosion created a 30-foot crater in front of the complex.
The FBI said the investigation into the blast moved slowly in part because the Saudi government restricted the agency's access to witnesses and other evidence. Eventually, FBI agents were allowed to formulate questions and watch as Saudi authorities posed 212 questions to eight suspects.
Saudi Arabia has yet to disclose its findings in an investigation it carried out jointly with the FBI.
Iran initially was believed to have been involved, according to government investigators, but the indictment does not name any Iranians. Last month, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said any U.S. allegations of Iranian involvement were intended to complicate relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which are working to strengthen ties.