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SAUDI BOMBING SUSPECT OFFERS ALIBI

A Saudi suspect in the 1996 bombing of a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia can prove he was in Iran at the time of the blast, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Hani al-Sayegh, who was deported to the United States from Canada in June, has given the FBI the names of about 20 people who can corroborate his claim, said the spokesman, Ali Abbas.

The Saudi government contends al-Sayegh, a member of the kingdom's disgruntled Shiite minority, drove the car that signaled an explosive-laden truck to drive into the Khobar Towers military housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. servicemen.

Using the Saudi lead, U.S. authorities cut a deal with al-Sayegh in Canada, hoping he would identify the others involved in the June 1996 attack. In return, al-Sayegh was deported to the United States instead of Saudi Arabia, where he feared possible execution because of his opposition to the Saudi royal family.

A U.S. judge said last week he would issue an order on Oct. 21 dropping charges against al-Sayegh, 28, for lack of evidence. He will then be turned over to U.S. immigration authorities and could be deported, perhaps to Saudi Arabia.

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