Sources: Riyadh prison fire may have been arson; Al Qaeda followers possibly among dead
Reliable Gulf-based sources have informed Albawaba that a significant number of those who died in Monday's Al-Hair prison fire, if not the majority of them, are followers of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden that have been arrested in the Kingdom in recent months.
Saudi authorities launched a massive crackdown on suspected "terrorists" following the May 12 suicide attacks against residential compounds in the capital Riyadh that left 35 dead.
Saudi Interior Ministry officials are not saying whether the fire was a result of an accident or if it had been deliberately set. However, sources told Albawaba that according to initial findings, there is reason to suspect the fire was intentionally ignited.
In the meantime, however, a senior Saudi security source quoted by Al Hayat ruled out "any act of sabotage".
"This sort of accident happens anywhere and a short circuit cannot be ruled out, particularly since the fire started in the afternoon at a time when the electricity supply is overloaded," the source said.
In London, meanwhile, a Saudi opposition group said that as many as 144 inmates and 40 security men died in Monday's blaze, more than double the official toll initially given by Saudi authorities. (Albawaba.com)
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