Al Qaida renews attacks on Westerners in Saudi Arabia

Monday, October 4, 2004

ABU DHABI After a lull of nearly five months, Al Qaida has resumed targeting Western housing compounds in Saudi Arabia.

Over the weekend, Saudi authorities reported a machine-gun attack of a Western compound in Riyad. There were no injuries reported and authorities failed to make any arrests.

The attack took place on late Oct. 1 on the Seder Village compound in eastern Riyad. Several shots were fired toward the compound from a moving car.

Security measures at Seder Village have increased over the last few months. The Saudi National Guard has been deployed around the facility, Middle East Newsline reported.

Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Mansour Turki said up to four people could have been involved in the Riyad attack. He said police were searching for the get-away car used in the shooting.

"So far, we don't have clear information regarding the purpose of the attack and we are continuing our efforts to arrest the assailants and track down their vehicle," Turki said. "Security agents are still investigating the incident to discover the motive of the assailants."

The last Al Qaida attack on a Western or foreign housing compound took place in May 2004 when insurgents stormed a residential and commercial complex near Khobar. More than 20 people were executed by Al Qaida insurgents during the 25-hour hostage ordeal.

The Seder Village was long thought to be an Al Qaida target. In November 2003, Saudi authorities raided an Al Qaida safe house in Riyad and captured video footage of the Seder Village compound. The hideout also contained hundreds of kilograms of explosives.

Since May 2004, Al Qaida has targeted Western employees in Saudi Arabia. Over the last month, several defense employees were ambushed and killed in Jedda and Riyad.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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