US shuts Saudi embassy over security fears
RIYADH-Agence France-PresseThe U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia said it had suspended consular services in the kingdom for two days due to “heightened security concerns”, after warning of threats against Western oil workers.
All services in Riyadh and at the consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran have been cancelled for March 15 and March 16, it said in a statement posted on its website on March 14.
The embassy warned U.S. citizens to take extra precautions and keep a low profile if they were out in public.
“All U.S. citizens are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, and take extra precautions when travelling throughout the country,” it said.
“The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travelling to Saudi Arabia and limit non-essential travel within the country.”
The embassy on March 13 had warned that Western oil workers risked being attacked or kidnapped by “terrorist” groups.
It did not identify the source of the threats and said no details were available on the planned attacks.
Saudi Arabia is taking part in U.S-led air strikes that began in September against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group in Syria, raising concerns about possible retaliation.
Westerners in Saudi Arabia have come under attack four times since October.
The latest was last month when U.S. defense contractor Vinnell Arabia said two of its American employees were shot at in Eastern Province, where most of the kingdom’s oil wealth is concentrated.