Independent Review of the Khobar Towers Bombing   [open pdf - 632KB]

The Khobar Towers terrorist bombing on 25 June 1996, a cold-blooded act of murder, was a tragic and costly event of unprecedented magnitude, involving a high degree of sophistication. It was an act of war where terrorists detonated a bomb with an estimated likely yield of more than 20,000 pounds of TNT-equivalent explosives outside the fence of the American occupied sector of Khobar Towers. The explosion killed 19 service members and injured hundreds more. It also injured many Saudi Arabian citizens and third country nationals (TCNs) and severely damaged or destroyed a significant amount of property. This was the second bombing in Saudi Arabia in less than a year, a country where tens of thousands of Americans had lived safely for decades prior to these attacks. The first significant terrorist attack occurred in November, 1995. Five Americans were killed when terrorists exploded a much smaller car bomb (estimated to be about 200 pounds of TNT-equivalent explosives) in front of the Office of the Program Manager of the Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM-SANG). Understandably, Saudi Arabian officials viewed this as an unprecedented and isolated event. They believed they had solved this problem by capturing and executing the terrorists. However, U.S. commanders at every level took a different view and immediately initiated increased security measures, including vulnerability assessments. For example, at Khobar Towers alone, over 130 such enhancements were implemented between November 1995 and 24 June 1996.

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