WASHINGTON – The State Department on Monday renewed a warning to U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Saudi Arabia (search ).
Potential for terror actions against U.S. citizens in the Persian Gulf (search ) region was cited.
"The U.S. government continues to receive indications of terrorist threats aimed at American and Western interests," the department said in a statement. Transportation and civil aviation could be targeted in the Arab kingdom, it said.
Earlier, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh (search) said Saturday it continued to receive information that terrorists are planning future operations and urged Americans to be "particularly vigilant" during the holy Islamic fasting month of Ramadan (search ).
The U.S. Embassy warning came a day after Britain's Foreign Office said it believed that "terrorists may be in the final phases of planning attacks" in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government said Saturday it was taking action against terrorism, and criticized Britain for issuing the warning without consulting it first.
A warden message on the U.S. Embassy Web site advised American citizens "of the ongoing terrorist threat in Saudi Arabia."
"The Embassy continues to receive information that terrorist groups within the Kingdom are still active and planning future operations," said the message. "It is the Embassy's assessment that terrorist groups may place special operational significance on the upcoming month of Ramadan."
On Friday, the FBI urged extra vigilance for possible terror attacks and violence against Muslims during the upcoming Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins Sunday or Monday depending on the sighting of the new moon.
The British Foreign Office gave no details about its information, but said its warning against all but essential travel in Saudi Arabia remained in place.
The Saudi ambassador to Britain, Turki Al-Faisal, issued a statement saying: "The kingdom wishes that when such advice is given by sources outside the kingdom that there would be coordination between the people giving the advice and the authorities in the kingdom."
A British diplomat in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, told The Associated Press on Saturday the advisory was similar to the one Britain issued days before the May 12 homicide bombings that targeted Western residential compounds in Riyadh.
"It doesn't mean we knew then something was going to happen," said the diplomat on condition of anonymity. "It meant the planning was in the last stages.
"The advisory reflects the assessment that the threat from terror is serious."
In its weekly bulletin to 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies, the FBI said it has no credible information that an attack is being planned by Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network or any other terror group during the upcoming period of fasting and reflection.
But attacks overseas have been timed in the past to coincide with symbolic dates, the FBI says, adding that "the possibility of such an attack in the United States cannot be discounted."
A string of bombings on Western residential compounds in Riyadh on May 12 has been linked to bin Laden. Twenty-six people and nine assailants were killed in the attacks.