Saudi authorities Friday beheaded four Muslim militants who blew up a U.S.-run military facility in Riyadh, killing five Americans and two Indians.
The convicts, all Saudi Arabians, were executed despite threats by underground extremists that they would attack American interests in the kingdom if the four were punished for the Nov. 13 attack.
The official Saudi Press Agency quoted an Interior Ministry statement as saying the executions took place in public, in a square in Riyadh, so that “such repulsive acts would not be repeated.”
The agency identified the men as Abdulaziz Fahd Nasser, Riyadh Hajir, Muslih Shmrani and Khaled Ahmed Said.
In televised confessions shown on state-run television April 22, the men said they were not linked to any particular group.
But they said they had been influenced by Islamic extremist groups in Algeria and Egypt that are seeking to topple secular governments in the two countries and replace them with strict Islamic rule.
They also said they had been trained in weapons and explosives use in Afghanistan and took part in the fighting there.
Saudi authorities said the explosives they used to blow up the facility came from neighboring Yemen.
The United States has maintained a large military presence in the Persian Gulf since the 1990-91 Gulf crisis and runs a number of military training facilities in Saudi Arabia. About 35,000 American expatriates also live there.
The U.S. State Department said earlier this month that the American Embassy in Riyadh had received an anonymous phone call threatening attacks on American interests if the four Saudis were punished for the bombing, which shattered the kingdom’s reputation as a haven in the violence-plagued Middle East.