Al Qaida is planning a major suicide attack against a U.S.
compound in Saudi Arabia.
U.S. officials said Al Qaida has targeted American interests in the
Saudi kingdom for what could be the organization's next round of attacks.
The officials said the targets appear to include American-inhabited
compounds, companies and the U.S. embassy.
"We believe that at least one plan for a major attack on American
interests was foiled in Saudi Arabia," an official who
deals with security threats in Saudi Arabia said. "We and the Saudis have
also collected sufficient information to conclude that Al Qaida is in the
advance stage of planning another suicide strike."
The U.S. embassy has been closed for a week and was scheduled to reopen
on Wednesday, Middle East Newsline reported.
On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia warned of an Al Qaida
strike on Western compounds. The embassy said at least one residential
complex in Riyad has come under surveillance of suspected Islamic
"Recent confirmed information indicates that the Seder Village housing
compound in Riyad has been under active surveillance by terrorist elements,"
the embassy said. "Other Western compounds within the kingdom may also be
Saudi Arabia contains about 30,000 American nationals. Britain has about
the same number of citizens in the kingdom.
Officials said the State Department has not decided to evacuate
Americans from either the Seder compound or any other housing facility in
Riyad. They said security at Seder, which contains about 280 houses, has
been bolstered and Saudi guards have been ordered to check all who seek to
The Saudi National Guard has also deployed armored vehicles around the
compound. Seder has also been surrounded by a wall of concrete blocks and
The U.S. embassy imposed new restrictions on the movement of its
American employees. The measures, issued after consultations with Saudi
authorities, banned U.S. staffers and their families from visiting housing
compounds in Riyad from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The exception was official embassy
Saudi security sources agreed that Al Qaida has been planning a major
suicide attack on Western interests in the kingdom. They said authorities
foiled what could have been the destruction of a Western compound in Riyad
in late November when security agents killed an Al Qaida operative and
captured more than one ton of explosives.
U.S. officials said the new threats of an Al Qaida attack have bolstered
the security dialogue between Riyad and Washington. They said a senior U.S.
official would be sent to Riyad to review security measures to protect
Americans in the kingdom.