INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - President Bush denounced the bombings in Saudi Arabia that killed at least 20 people, including seven Americans, as the work of "killers whose only faith is hate." He vowed to "find the killers and they will learn the meaning of American justice."
Bush said "the ruthless murder of American citizens and other citizens, reminds us that the war on terror continues."
The president made the remarks at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where he was speaking on his tax-cut and economic stimulus plan.
"My thoughts and prayers and those of our fellow citizens are with the families of the vicitims of yesterday's murders in Saudi Arabia," he said.
"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," Bush said.
"Anytime anybody attacks our homeland, or our fellow citizens, we will be on the hunt," he added. "We will bring them to justice."
"Just ask the Taliban," Bush added, recalling the U.S. victory over the Taliban government of Afghanistan.
"I'm optimistic we can overcome anything in our path," he said.
"We pray for them. We mourn the loss of life," Bush said of the attacks late Monday in Saudi Arabia.
White House staff members told Bush about the bombings after he gave a speech on tax cuts, terrorism and the war on Iraq at a plastics manufacturing plant in Omaha, Neb., said White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan. On Air Force One, en route to Indianapolis, Bush received additional information in phone conversations with national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, Buchan said.
"He was briefed immediately following his remarks yesterday in Omaha, then he spoke to Dr. Rice on Air Force One," Buchan said. "He was updated at the hotel and again by Dr. Rice before he went to bed. This morning, he received an additional update from Dr. Rice as well as his usual intelligence briefing."
Secretary of State Colin Powell, in the Mideast for previously scheduled meetings, learned about the bombings when he was awakened about midnight in Amman, Jordan. In the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Powell on Tuesday called the bombings an act of cowardice and said they bore the "earmarks of al-Qaida."
More than a dozen people, including at least seven Americans, died in the blasts at residential compounds. A U.S. official said British, German, French, Australian and other Arab citizens were among the casualties which could be in the hundreds.
Powell planned to view damage caused by the blasts during his six-hour stop in Saudi Arabia before going on to Moscow to prepare for Bush's visit to St. Petersburg on June 1.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, called the attack "a painful moment in our long war against terrorism. Al-Qaida, which some suspect may have been behind this attack, has suffered serious setbacks, but is still a potent enemy."
"Our recent successes in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the global dismantling of terrorist cells may have understandably encouraged some Americans to begin to turn their attention away from the war on terror toward other pressing concerns," Kyl said. "Today's attack is a reminder that our enemies will not be similarly distracted."
The FBI is sending a team to Riyadh to help in the investigation of the bomb attacks.
John Pistole, deputy assistant FBI director for the counterterrorism division, will lead what is known as an "assessment team" of a dozen or less agents and technicians, bureau spokesman Bill Carter said Tuesday.
Saudi Arabian officials have already given the FBI team permission to participate in the investigation, he added. The FBI has a permanent legal attache in Riyadh who acts as a liaison with that nation's police and counterterrorism officials.
The team includes investigators who will interview witnesses and gather evidence alongside Saudi police. Also part of the group are bomb technicians who will begin the process of figuring out what explosives were used, how they were detonated and how to trace their origin.
Additional FBI agents could be sent to Riyadh depending on the findings of this initial team, as long as Saudi Arabian officials permit them into the country.
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