A sharp split between the United States and Saudi Arabia emerged Sunday as a top Saudi prince said he opposed moving American soldiers to new housing the Pentagon says would be less vulnerable to terrorists.
The comments by Defense Minister Prince Sultan came during a visit to Saudi Arabia by FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, who continued to press Saudi officials to grant his agents access to all evidence in the bombing of a U.S. military housing complex in Dhahran last month.
In the latest report on evidence, official sources said Sunday they have found the getaway car used by the terrorists who killed 19 U.S. servicemen and injured hundreds of people in the June 25 attack.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the white Chevrolet Caprice Classic was found in Dammam, six miles from Dhahran, a few days after the bombing.
There was no explanation as to why authorities did not disclose the discovery of the car until now.
Meanwhile, a U.S. embassy source in Riyadh said Americans living in the kingdom have received more calls threatening attacks from people speaking Arabic or broken English.
A recorded embassy hotline message warned U.S. citizens living in the kingdom: “Individual Americans and companies in Saudi Arabia have been receiving phone calls threatening further attacks …. it is likely that some of these reports reflect planning for further attacks.”
Last week, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said it was virtually certain that some of the 1,500 U.S. troops based in the Saudi capital of Riyadh will be moved to Saudi bases more easily defended against terrorists.
Saudi Arabian officials appeared to squash the idea, however.
“If we have to move them from where they live now, this means that we have to prepare for them another lodging,” Prince Sultan said Sunday.
“This is not correct (because) security has been achieved, the rule of law prevails, and incidents that happen in our country now are only one out of a million compared to what happens in other countries,” he said.