Britain Closes Embassy in Saudi Arabia

The British government will temporarily close its embassy in Saudi Arabia to the public because of an imminent terrorist threat, officials said Tuesday.

The Foreign Office said its embassy in Riyadh (search), the British consulate in Jiddah (search) and the trade office in Khobar (search) will close to the public on Wednesday. It said it expected the offices would reopen May 24.

The closure follows a similar move by the U.S. government, over fears that terrorist attacks are imminent in Saudi Arabia, following a series of explosions in Riyadh last week that killed 34 people.

"We have received credible information that further terrorist attacks against unspecified targets in Saudi Arabia are being planned and may take place imminently," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

"In light of the threat, British diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia will close to the public on Wednesday, May 21. This will be kept under review and plans are to reopen to the public on Sunday, May 24," she added.

Suicide attacks on three residential compounds on the outskirts of Riyadh on May 12 claimed the lives of 34 people, including nine bombers and two Britons.

Last week, Britain advised its citizens not to travel to Saudi Arabia unless absolutely necessary. In a statement posted on its Web site, the Foreign Office said there remained a "high threat" of further strikes and warned of the possibility of chemical and biological attacks.