RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi authorities detained on Monday a gunman who was roaming around the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Dhahran, U.S. officials said.
The arrest came a week after suspected al Qaeda suicide bombers attacked three Riyadh compounds housing mainly foreigners, killing at least 34 people, including eight Americans
“An individual with a gun was stopped at the outer-security perimeter of the consulate in Dhahran at 6 a.m. and has been detained by the Saudis,” said one U.S. official in the kingdom.
He said no one was injured or directly threatened, but added that the consulate decided to close to “assess its own security position.” He gave no further details and Saudi officials were not immediately available to comment.
A State Department official in Washington said an “armed visitor” was arrested at the outer gate of the consulate, adding that no one was hurt.
Security at all U.S. diplomatic missions in the kingdom has been stepped up following last Monday’s bombings and a U.S. warning of further attacks in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.
At least 70,000 Americans and Britons live in Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally and the world’s biggest oil exporter. The kingdom is the birthplace of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who is blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.