US officials believe Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian al-Qaeda leader they claim is hiding in Iran, helped organize the triple bombings in Riyadh that killed 34 people last week, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
"There are some senior members of al Qaeda in Iran...who might have had a hand in this," a senior U.S. administration official said.
Adel is thought to have become the network's top military officer after Muhammad Atef was killed in Afghanistan in 2001, and he may now be the third most senior member of the network, the Post added.
The Saudi bombings and other recent attacks were conducted by "regular al-Qaeda folks" who have moved into positions of authority because previous leaders have been killed or captured, the report said.
Al-Qaeda may be unleashing "as many strikes as possible in a short period of time" to prove it is still viable, the report said, citing US officials and terrorism experts.
"I think they're back -- we've seen the hiatus," a counterterrorism official was quoted as saying.
The report said that bin Laden's son Saad bin Laden and al-Qaeda's head of training Abu Mohammed Masri were also hiding in Iran, charges Iran has denied.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )