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U.S. warns Americans in Saudi Arabia

From Elise Labott
CNN Washington Bureau

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

Saudi Arabia
Al Qaeda

(CNN) -- The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, warned Wednesday that more terrorist attacks could be in the works in the kingdom.

The embassy issued a warden's message, or advisory, to the American community in Saudi Arabia saying that it "has received indications of operational planning for a terrorist attack or attacks in the kingdom."

The statement posted on the embassy's Web site said there was "no specific information concerning timing, target or method" of possible attacks but noted that terrorists previously have targeted housing compounds and other places for Westerners as well as Saudi government facilities.

"In addition to car bombs and armed assaults involving multiple gunmen against such facilities, terrorists have used ambush attacks to kidnap and/or assassinate individual Westerners," the advisory warned.

In December, gunmen killed five people in a raid on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah. Four of the attackers also were killed. A Saudi-based al Qaeda group claimed responsibility for the attack. (Full story)

An unspecified threat in March prompted the consulate to move Americans in Jeddah to another location. (Full story)

Attacks against Americans and other Westerners in the Saudi kingdom have increased in the past two years.

In June 2004, American Paul Johnson, 49, was kidnapped and beheaded while working in Saudi Arabia. He was an engineer for Lockheed Martin Corp. in Riyadh when al Qaeda terrorists abducted him. (Full story)

In May 2004, 22 people died in the oil city of Khobar in a standoff that ended with Saudi troops storming a residential compound where militants had taken more than 200 people hostage. (Full story)

Al Qaeda-led suicide attacks struck Riyadh housing compounds in May and July 2003, killing 40 people.

Wednesday's statement urged U.S. citizens to keep a low profile, pay close attention to their security and be alert when visiting commercial areas where Westerners congregate.

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