Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The bloodbath began on Saturday when gunmen in military garb opened fire on the Al-Khobar Petroleum Centre building, housing offices of major Western oil firms, before storming into compounds containing oil services offices and employees' homes.

"There were pools of blood, blood is everywhere," said a member of the staff at the upmarket Oasis compound, adding that freed hostages told him there had been more than four attackers.

The hotel where the foreign hostages were held was still sealed off after the siege and security forces were searching for explosives the militants might have left behind.

Bullet-holes, blood stains, shattered glass, empty cartridges and grenades were evidence of the havoc, he said...

Arab residents had said the gunmen asked them if they were Muslim or Christian before targeting the Christians.

"It happened very quickly. It's difficult to recall it all. I locked the front door and I heard some shots," said Diane Reed, an American shot in the legs when the militants first stormed the complex on Saturday. She was at al-Saad hospital where she underwent two surgeries.

The ministry listed the total death toll in the attack as an American, a Briton, an Italian, a South African, a Swede, eight Indians, two Sri Lankans, three Filipinos, an Egyptian boy and three Saudis. It said 25 people were injured.
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