Saudi disaster hits home for Groveland family



Greg and Jeanne Gary are waiting to hear if any of their friends or co-workers were killed in Monday's suicide bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Garys' home from 1991 until last June was a four-bedroom home next to the striking, ornate front gate at the luxurious gated community, the Al-Jadawel Compound. That substantial gate was blown to rubble by suspected al-Qaida terrorists who Monday attacked three gated compounds housing foreign workers.

Death toll from the attacks is 34, including seven Americans.

The Garys who are traveling and were in Groveland visiting their daughter when the bombings occurred have pieced together what happened at their former home and feel lucky they weren't there.

But they are worried because many of their friends remain at the compound. Friends like Wally (last name not available), who e-mailed this report to the Garys yesterday:

"There was a firefight with automatic weapons at the back gate, about 200 meters from my door. At this point I remember everything in slow motion.

"There was a massive flash and I could actually see the shockwave as the window and doors blew in, things blew by me, glass shattered, and the blast picked me up and shoved me back against a wall. The noise was incredible. Apparently they detonated a truck full of RDX about 200 meters from me."

After the blast and after Wally heard sirens, he ventured outside to see what had happened and helped out in the compound clinic.

"Most of the wounded were actually compound workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc., the bomb wiped out their quarters by the back gate," he wrote.

Greg Gary called the terrorists responsible for the deathly destruction "fundamentalist nut cases."

"They hit my home," he said. "These guys are into the biggest exposure possible. The message they are sending is 'We got your number and we'll chase you out.' If the companies act responsibly they will start sending their workers home."

The Union Democrat
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