Published September 28, 2011
The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, urged westerners to be on alert Wednesday after receiving information that a local terrorist group may be planning abductions in the city.
“The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh reminds all U.S. citizens to exercise prudence and enhanced security awareness at all times,” read an emergency message posted on the embassy's website.
“Vary your routes and times to and from work. Do not frequent the same shops with regularity; Know where you are going and have a plan of what to do in the event you encounter demonstrations or violence,” it added.
The message did not disclose the name of the terrorist group.
Saudi Arabia has waged a heavy crackdown on Islamist militants since Al Qaeda's Saudi branch launched a wave of attacks in the country in 2003, including suicide bombings and shootings that killed dozens of Saudis and foreigners. At least 11 Americans were among the dead.
The kingdom's security forces appeared to have largely crushed the militants by 2006, arresting or killing most of its known leaders.
On Monday, the former leader of Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency, Prince Turki al-Faisal, told an audience in Madrid that uprisings across the Middle East have created a fertile ground for terrorist groups in the region, Reuters reports.
But he added that he was confident the country's 35,000-deep security force could ward off terrorist attacks, particularly against oil installations.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world's leading oil exporters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.