British issue new alert on Saudi Arabia

Monday, December 1, 2003

LONDON Britain, warning of an imminent insurgency attack, has issued another alert against traveling to Saudi Arabia.

British officials said the intelligence community has determined that Al Qaida plans additional attacks on Western targets in the Saudi kingdom over the next few weeks in wake of Id Al Fitr. The officials said the 30,000 British nationals in Saudi Arabia could be the target of Al Qaida.

Saudi officials said authorities foiled a suicide car bombing in Riyad that was meant to be more lethal than the Nov. 9 Al Qaida attack in which 18 people were killed in the Saudi capital. The car was meant to be explode in an unspecified housing compound in the city.

The car captured by Saudi security forces was said to contain more than one ton of explosives, Middle East Newsline reported. The British Foreign Office was said to have concluded that Al Qaida completed plans for additional attacks in the Riyad area.

"Terrorists may be in the final stages of preparing for attacks and the danger of the extremists in the kingdom is still high," a British embassy statement in Riyad said.

The embassy statement said the latest alert was based on the discovery of what it termed a "terror plot" by Saudi authorities more than a week ago.

"The discovery on Nov. 25 by the Saudi authorities of a terrorist plot shows the terrorist threat across Saudi Arabia remains high," the British embassy said. "As well as continuing to advise against all but essential travel to Saudi Arabia, the [British Foreign Office] travel advice warns that terrorists may be in the final phases of planning attacks in the kingdom."

Saudi officials have been dismayed by British alerts of an insurgency attack in Saudi Arabia. Saudi ambassador to London, Prince Turki Al Faisal, said the British government had not coordinated its travel advisories with Riyad.

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