Americans among Victims in Saudi Attack

AP/MSNBC: BREAKING NEWS: Americans among the victims in Saudi attack

Gunmen opened fire Saturday in an office where Westerners worked in northwestern Saudi Arabia, killing and wounding some people inside, including a British national. Americans were among the casualties, and the Saudi Interior Ministry said three attackers were killed.

An Interior Ministry statement did not say how many civilians were killed or injured in the attack in Yanbu, 550 miles west of Riyadh, or provide details on the nationalities of the foreign casualties.

However, European diplomats told The Associated Press a Briton was among the dead and a U.S. Embassy official confirmed Americans were among the casualties — though the official would not say if they were dead or wounded.

Update: CNN: Deadly car bombing in Saudi Arabia

Four militants have attacked a compound in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea industrial town of Yanbu, where Saudis, Americans and other Westerners work, killing and wounding some of the workers, according to the Saudi Interior Ministry.

The militants entered the building, opened fire on the workers, then detonated a car bomb after Saudi security forces based in compound chased them, the ministry said.

An informed source said two of the militants were killed when they detonated the car bomb; a third was shot and killed by Saudi authorities; and the fourth was shot and wounded by authorities and arrested.

The ministry confirmed that three of the militants were killed and the other was injured and arrested.

The ministry did not have an exact casualty figure on how many workers were killed and wounded in Saturday’s attack.

The American, Australian and British Embassies in Riyadh are checking reports that some of their nationals could be among the casualties.

Yanbu is about 150 km (100 miles) north of Jeddah and is the first time such an attack has happened there.

This week, the man believed to be the top al Qaeda operative in Saudi Arabia threatened to hit Saudi security forces hard — to “shake the ground underneath their feet” — if they try to stop the jihad launched by the terrorist network. He also warned Muslims to stay away from Americans or else risk being hurt in attacks.

On Tuesday, Abdul Aziz al-Mukrin denied al Qaeda was responsible for the suicide bombing last week which damaged the old Saudi security headquarters building. Five people were killed and 147 wounded in that blast.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.