U.S. officials said the State Department has ordered American diplomats
and staffers to remain indoors over the next few days during a heightened alert of an imminent
Al Qaida attack.
The officials said the Defense Department has issued similar restrictions to defense and military staffers
in the kingdom.
U.S. government staffers and their families were ordered not to leave
their homes or compounds except for essential duties. Officials said the
restrictions would remain in effect until the Al Qaida alert subsides.
[In Kuwait, sheikdom officials have acknowledged that it received alerts
of an Al Qaida attack, Middle East Newsline reported. One alert concerned the prospect of an Al Qaida
anti-aircraft missile attack against U.S.-led coalition military planes
"The embassy continues to be concerned about the current situation in
Saudi Arabia," an embassy statement said. "Effective immediately, travel of
all embassy personnel and dependents of the Riyad diplomatic quarter should
be restricted to essential business only. Similar restrictions will be
placed on American personnel and dependents at the consulates in Jedda and
The heightened alert comes amid the interrogation of a suspect in the
Muhaya compound suicide bombing on Nov. 9. The raid of the suspected
Al Qaida stronghold on Nov. 25 also resulted in the capture of a huge amount
weapons, explosives as well as a video of future targets.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia released the names and photos of its 26 most
wanted terrorist suspects. At the same time, a purported Al Qaida
affiliate -- the Brigade of the Two Holy Mosques Ñ claimed responsibility
for the attempted assassination of a senior Saudi police official over the
weekend as part of a drive to topple the regime. The officer was identified
as Brig. Gen. Abdul Aziz Al Huwairini.
Officials said Saudi and U.S. authorities have determined that Al Qaida
has targeted several U.S. installations and American-inhabited compounds in
such major cities as Jedda and Riyad. They said they have evidence that Al
Qaida targeted the Seder Village in Riyad for a suicide bombing in late
November. There are about 30,000 Americans in Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday, Saudi security forces captured two suspected insurgents
during a gun battle in the Taif
governorate. One of the suspects escaped.
At the same time, Saudi authorities have detained a British national and
American citizen in Jedda. David Heaton is a British national who converted
to Islam; Abdul Latif Ibrahim Bilal is a U.S. national and the brother of
a leading suspected Taliban agent detained in the United States. Both men
were said to have completed a scuba diving course during the month of