Al-Qaida-linked plotters hoped to reproduce the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by planning to dispatch suicide pilots to military bases and launching attacks on the oil refineries that drive the economy of Osama bin Laden's homeland, Saudi Arabian officials said Saturday.
Revealing new details of the purported plot, a government spokesman said some of the 172 attackers trained as pilots in an unidentified "troubled country" nearby, hoping to use the planes to carry out suicide attacks.
The spokesman, Maj. -Gen. Mansour al-Turki, would not say where the training took place: "It could be Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, there are so many troubled regions in the world. I can't specify."
The militants allegedly wanted to use planes "like car bombs ... to use the aircraft as a tool to carry out suicide operations," al-Turki told The Associated Press by phone from this capital city. Targets included Saudi military bases that militants had no other way of reaching but by blowing up an aircraft, he said.