US embassy warns of possible attacks

RIYADH (AFP) — The US embassy in Riyadh warned in a statement on Wednesday that it had indications of possible new terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.
“The American embassy in Riyadh advises all American citizens living in Saudi Arabia that it has received indications of operational planning for a terrorist attack or attacks in the kingdom,” a warden message said.

However, it said the embassy “has no specific information concerning timing, target or method of any possible attack.” Since May 2003, Saudi Arabia has been rocked by a spate of bloody attacks, many targeting Westerners, by suspected Al Qaeda militants. “In the past, terrorist groups have targeted housing compounds and other establishments where Westerners may be located,” the message said. “Saudi government facilities have also been targets. In addition to car bombs and armed assaults involving multiple gunmen against such facilities, terrorists have used ambush attacks to kidnap and/or assassinate individual Westerners.”

The message urged US citizens living in Saudi Arabia to “maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.”

American citizens were advised to “exercise caution and maintain good situation awareness when visiting commercial establishments frequented by Westerners or in primarily Western environments, keep a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel.”

The violence in the world’s top oil exporter has claimed the lives of 90 civilians, 42 security personnel and 113 militants, according to official figures. Saudi security forces shot dead the Moroccan suspected frontman of Al-Qaeda’s branch in the country in Riyadh earlier this month, five days after authorities put him at the top of a new list of wanted militants.

Abdul Aziz Al Muqrin, then chief of “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” was shot dead along with three henchmen in the capital in June 2004 after a spate of attacks against Westerners culminated in the beheading of an American aeronautics engineer who had been taken hostage by the group.

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