Incident Summary:

11/08/2003: Al-Qaida members launched an armed intrusion and then detonated three bombs in the Muhaya residential housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing at least 17 people and wounding 122 people, including at least one American. Saudi Arabian officials classified the incident as a suicide car bombing. Al-Qaida later claimed responsibility for the attack via an email to Al-Majalla magazine.



Saudi Arabia

Middle East & North Africa

region/u.s. state:


Near Riyadh

Location Details:
The incident occurred in the Muhaya residential housing compound in Riyadh.

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Muhaya Residential Housing Compound
Specific Description The Muhaya residential housing compound in Riyadh
Nationality of Target Saudi Arabia
Additional Information
Hostages No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Major (likely > $1 million but < $1 billion)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives/Bombs/Dynamite Vehicle
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Weapon Details
The attackers used three bombs including one car bomb. Reports indicated that the incident was a suicide bombing as well. Attacking gunmen preceded the bombings with an armed intrusion.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh had been closed on the day of the bombing due to warnings of an attack. Al-Qaida members had perpetrated similar suicide attacks on residential compounds in Saudi Arabia in May 2003.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: E-mail)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 17 Fatalities / 122 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 17
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities Unknown
Total Number of Injured 122
Number of U.S. Injured 1
Number of Perpetrators Injured Unknown
"Saudi Compound Rocked: Three Explosions Kill Two. Suicide Car Bombing Injures Eighty-six, Might be Work of Al-Qa’ida,” The Gazette, November 9, 2003."
Neil MacFarquhar, “Blast Shatters Housing Enclave in Saudi Capital,” The New York Times, November 9, 2003.
"AL QAIDA BEHIND SUICIDE CAR BOMB, CLAIMS 'OPERATIVE,'" The Birmingham Post, December 12, 2003."