ABU DHABI Ñ Al Qaida claims several operatives escaped
during the takeover of the U.S. consulate in Jedda.
An Al Qaida statement on the Internet claimed responsibility for the
Dec. 6 strike on the U.S. diplomatic facility in the Saudi port city. The
statement said an unidentified number of assailants fled before security
forces regained control of the consulate compound.
"They were able to withdraw from the consulate and reach a safe place,
after losing two martyrs who covered the retreat of the Islamic warriors,
three of whom were wounded and are being treated," the statement, signed by
Al Qaida Organization in the Arabian Peninsula, said.
The Saudi Interior Ministry said the Al Qaida cell consisted of five
operatives, Middle East Newsline reported. The ministry said three of the operatives were killed and two
others were injured and captured.
One of the injured attackers later died in the hospital, the ministry
said. The ministry said no Saudi security officers were
killed in the siege.
Al Qaida said the cell that attacked the consulate killed nine people.
The statement said the casualties included two Americans and Saudi soldiers
and injured dozens of additionals nationals.
"This operation is one of the series of operations carried out by the Al
Qaida organization in their war against the crusaders and the Jews to chase
the infidels out of the Arabian peninsula," the statement said. "The Islamic
warriors are determined to pursue their fight."
The United States said five embassy employees Ñ none of them
Americans -- were killed in the attack. On Tuesday, U.S. ambassador to
Riyad, James Oberwetter, acknowledged that a U.S. diplomat, vice consul
Monica Lemieux, was shot and injured during the Al Qaida attack on the
"It's clear that some of these people have been looking at our
procedures," Oberwetter told a news conference. "They clearly understood how
our cars entered the compound and in my view had scoped it out."
The Interior Ministry identified three of the five Al Qaida members Ñ
Fayez Bin Awad Al Juhaini, Eid Bin Dakhilallah Al Juhaini and Hassan Bin
Hamid Al Hazimi. The ministry did not say whether the Al Juhainis were
related or provide other details.
All five were said to be Saudi nationals. One of those captured was said
to be Salah Al Awfi, head of the Al Qaida network in Saudi Arabia.
"The identity of the fourth [attacker], who is wounded, must not be
divulged for the sake of public interest," the ministry said, "and
procedures are under way to establish the identity of the fifth person, who
died in the incident."