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Saudi Terror Killings An Inside Job

Three of the terrorist gunmen who killed an Australian and four of his colleagues had been working with their victims at the same company in Saudi Arabia - and used their security passes to launch the gun attack.

The three "inside" assailants and a fourth terrorist burst into the offices of ABB Lummus, where Mr Anthony Mason worked as a construction manager, Saudi officials said. Two American and two British employees working with him on an oil refinery upgrade were also killed by the militants, as was a Saudi National Guard soldier.

An oil executive said the gunmen targeted the top three officials involved in an upgrading project at the Saudi petrochemical firm Yanpet, jointly owned by US Exxon Mobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation.

"They killed the three most senior people at the site - the project manager, construction manager and office manager as well as two others with less senior roles," he said. He confirmed the gunmen dragged one of the five Westerners' dead bodies behind their car through the streets of Yanbu.

The three insiders used their key cards to enter the building and sneak another attacker through an emergency gate, according to an Interior Ministry source quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency.

All four gunmen died later in clashes with police.
Saudi terror killings an inside job

By Cynthia Banham, and agencies
May 3, 2004 - 1:33AM

"Big hearted" ... Anthony Mason, killed in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Channel Ten

Three of the terrorist gunmen who killed an Australian and four of his colleagues had been working with their victims at the same company in Saudi Arabia - and used their security passes to launch the gun attack.

Anthony Richard Mason, 57, a father of two from Western Australia, became the 101st Australian killed in a terrorist attack since September 11, 2001.

Mr Mason, whom friends described as a workaholic, a "great leader", "big hearted" and "very loud", was gunned down in the attack in the Red Sea port of Yanbu, 900 kilometres from the capital, Riyadh, on Saturday.

The three "inside" assailants and a fourth terrorist burst into the offices of ABB Lummus, where Mr Mason worked as a construction manager, Saudi officials said. Two American and two British employees working with him on an oil refinery upgrade were also killed by the militants, as was a Saudi National Guard soldier.

An oil executive said the gunmen targeted the top three officials involved in an upgrading project at the Saudi petrochemical firm Yanpet, jointly owned by US Exxon Mobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation.

"They killed the three most senior people at the site - the project manager, construction manager and office manager as well as two others with less senior roles," he said. He confirmed the gunmen dragged one of the five Westerners' dead bodies behind their car through the streets of Yanbu.

The three insiders used their key cards to enter the building and sneak another attacker through an emergency gate, according to an Interior Ministry source quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency.

All four gunmen died later in clashes with police.

The Australian Government will not upgrade its travel warnings to Australians working in Saudi Arabia.

Asked on Channel Nine whether, in light of the attack, Australians should leave Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said: "We say that Australians should not visit Saudi Arabia on non-essential business because of the risk of terrorism . . . but on the other hand, you know what Australians are like . . . they're not going to be pushed around by terrorists and told what to do by terrorists."

More than 3000 Australians work in Saudi Arabia, the department says, many in the medical sector. Mr Downer said it was too early to say who was responsible for the attack but "you could safely assume" al-Qaeda - which was "very active in Saudi Arabia"- was involved.

ABB Lummus, a subsidiary of the Swiss-Swedish engineering and oil services giant ABB, said all of its expatriate staff would leave Yanbu. "With the families, there will be more than 100 people [leaving]," an ABB spokesman in Zurich said. "Some of them will be Australian", but he could not say exactly how many. They would be leaving "in the next few days".

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said the Australian embassy in Riyadh was giving Mr Mason's wife consular assistance.

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