Fire kills 10, injures 219 in new residential complex in Khobar Saudi Arabia days after arrest of man for 96 blast

AP/Fuel Fix:
A large fire broke out Sunday in the basement of a sprawling residential complex in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich east, killing at least 11 people and injuring many others, officials in the kingdom said.

The blaze began early in the morning in a multistory residential compound known as Radium in the eastern city of Khobar. The complex houses workers for state oil giant Saudi Aramco, which oversees petroleum production in the OPEC powerhouse.

The company later put out a statement saying that the fire resulted in 10 fatalities and 83 injuries.

It said an investigation has begun into the cause of the fire, which sent thick black smoke billowing from the pink-and-tan colored building.

The Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Civil Defense said victims were of various nationalities, without elaborating. Like many companies in the Gulf, Aramco relies heavily on foreign professionals and other migrant workers.

Earlier the directorate reported 219 people were and said somevwere in critical condition, the directorate said.

The Radium complex is a gated community of eight six-story buildings with a total of 486 residential units as well as swimming pools and other leisure facilities, according to Aramco’s website.

Siddique described the complex as relatively new and “nicely built,” with a mix of Western, Asian and Saudi residents. It is rented by Aramco and is guarded by security teams affiliated with the company, he said.
I would begin teh investigation by looking for an Iran connection to the fire.  Iran was found to be responsible for the original 1996 blast of the Khobar Towers which killed 19 Americans.   This fire occurred only days after the Saudis announced the arrest of the alleged mastermind of the 1996 attack.  He was caught in Lebanon where he apparently was hidden by Hezballah operatives who are usually used by Iran as proxies in such attacks.


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