This Travel Warning is being updated to include recent targeted attacks against American citizens, resulting in deaths, injuries and a kidnapping, and to remind American citizens of the continuing serious threat to their safety while in Saudi Arabia . This Travel Warning supersedes that of April 15, 2004 .
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens to defer travel to Saudi Arabia . Private American citizens currently in Saudi Arabia are strongly urged to depart. On April 14, 2004, due to security concerns, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members and non-emergency employees of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Saudi Arabia .
U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for further terrorist actions against U.S. citizens abroad, including in the Persian Gulf region. U.S. citizens who travel to, or remain in, Saudi Arabia despite this Travel Warning should register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh or at the Consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran, and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) to obtain updated information on travel and security in Saudi Arabia . Warden messages can be found on the U.S. Embassy Riyadh website: http://usembassy.state.gov/riyadh/.
The U.S. Government continues to receive credible information indicating that extremists are planning further attacks against U.S. and Western interests. Terrorists have taken at least one American citizen hostage and have recently killed others in shooting attacks. Terrorists also attacked residential housing compounds using vehicle bombs in 2003 and 2004, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries, including to American citizens. Credible information indicates that terrorists continue to target residential compounds in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the Riyadh area, but also compounds throughout the country. Recent incidents indicate that American citizens residing in private residences are also being specifically targeted.
>From time to time, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Saudi Arabia may restrict the travel of official Americans or suspend public services for security reasons. In those instances, the Embassy and Consulates will keep the local American citizen community apprised through the Warden System and make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. The U.S. Mission in Saudi Arabia continues to prohibit its American employees and their dependents from traveling to residential compounds in the Riyadh area from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. U.S. travelers can also get up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or Canada or on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.
U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet for Saudi Arabia, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov.