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Bush: US Will Help Find Those Behind Saudi Bombings - 2003-05-14

President Bush says the United States will help hunt down those responsible for Monday's suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia which killed at least 29 people, including seven Americans and nine suspected bombers.

President Bush said the attacks in the Saudi capital are a reminder that the fight against terrorism continues. He said what he calls these "ruthless" murderers will be caught. "These despicable acts were committed by killers whose only faith is hate, and the United States will find the killers and they will learn the meaning of American justice," Mr. Bush said.

The president said Americans mourn the loss of life in Saudi Arabia and their thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.

Secretary of State Colin Powell is in Saudi Arabia. He said he does not yet know who is responsible for the attacks but they bear "all the earmarks of al-Qaida" terrorists.

Al-Qaida is thought responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

Earlier this month, the State Department warned Americans against traveling to Saudi Arabia because of increased concerns about terrorism. Saudi Arabia has a large community of expatriate workers, including about 30,000 Americans.

Speaking at a rally in the state of Indiana to promote his plan for tax cuts, President Bush said the best way to protect against another terrorist attack in the United States is to hunt down "anybody who would do harm to Americans."

"We will be patient, and we will be relentless because that is our obligation to future generations of Americans. An obligation which says we must work hard to make sure people can grow up in freedom and peace in this country," he said.

The president again sought to link the fight against terrorism with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, saying the successful drive to topple Saddam Hussein was a victory in the broader war against terrorism.

"Thanks to our United States military and coalition forces, America is now more secure. The world will be more peaceful and the Iraqi people are free," Mr. Bush said.

Secretary Powell is in the region to discuss post-war reconstruction in Iraq as well as a proposed power-sharing agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. He said U.S. and Saudi officials will continue to work together to stop terrorist attacks.