ABU DHABI Ñ The United States has warned of an imminent attack on
its nationals in Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia has relayed an alert to Americans in
the kingdom that warned of an imminent attack by Islamic insurgents. The
warning said insurgents are believed to be in the final phase in plans to
attack U.S. interests in Saudi Arabia.
"The embassy advises the American community in Saudi Arabia that it has
received information that terrorist groups may be in the final phases of
planning terrorist attacks on American interests in Saudi Arabia," a warden
message issued by the embassy on Wednesday said. "We have no information as
to the likely target. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and
About 40,000 Americans are reported in Saudi Arabia, about a third fewer
than in the early 1990s. In February, the State Department urged embassy
staffers and their families to leave the kingdom, an advisory that has not
been rescinded, Middle East Newsline reported.
The warden message said the embassy has advised its employees and
dependents to limit travel to essential business. The embassy urged U.S.
nationals in Saudi Arabia to take measures to increase their security
"Potential targets may include facilities where American citizens and
other foreigners congregate or visit, such as residential areas, clubs,
restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events
or resorts and beaches," the message said. "U.S. citizens should increase
their security awareness when at such locations."
The embassy did not cite which insurgency group might be planning an
attack on Americans. But later U.S. diplomatic sources said the reference
was to Al Qaida.
Saudi officials acknowledged the U.S. warning and said the kingdom has
intensified efforts against Al Qaida. But they said they were not aware of
an imminent or specific threat to the American community in the kingdom.
"There is nothing that currently suggests that something like this is
imminent, but given the circumstances and developments taking place
something might [happen]," Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul
Aziz said. "I know nothing of this matter. This is a matter relating to the
country concerned and we have not received any information from anyone
regarding this matter."