LONDON Ñ Britain has warned of imminent Islamic insurgency attacks
against Westerners in Saudi Arabia.
British officials said the warning came after new evidence was relayed
by Riyad based on the interrogation of captured Al Qaida suspects. They said
the interrogations confirmed that Al Qaida has smuggled anti-aircraft
into the kingdom in plans to strike incoming Western airliners.
"We advise British nationals against all but essential travel to Saudi
Arabia," a warning by the British Foreign Office said. "We believe that
terrorists may be in the final phases of planning attacks."
The British warning was the first that raised the prospect of an
imminent attack in the Saudi kingdom. The United States has also posted
warnings to its nationals, but did not relay an immediate threat.
Officials said Britain has received information that Al Qaida has
completed plans for a series of attacks on Westerners. They said the targets
would probably target some of the 30,000 British nationals in Saudi Arabia,
including employees of defense contractors.
U.S. officials did not confirm the prospect of an imminent attack. But
they said Washington has received warnings of the prospect of Al Qaida
strikes during the Islamic fast month of Ramadan, which begins this week.
"The [U.S.] embassy continues to receive information that terrorist
groups within the kingdom are still active and planning future operations,"
the U.S. embassy in Riyad said in a statement. "It is the embassy's
assessment that terrorist groups may place special operational significance
on the upcoming month of Ramadan."
For its part, Saudi Arabia has not acknowledged such plans by Al Qaida.
Saudi officials said the British warning was not coordinated with the
"The kingdom wishes that when such advice is given by sources outside
the kingdom that there would be coordination between the people giving the
advice and the authorities in the kingdom," a statement by Saudi ambassador
to Britain, Prince Turki Al Faisal, said.
Over the last two weeks, Saudi security forces raided several Al Qaida
strongholds and found explosive belts used by suicide bombers.