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06 Jan 2020 | 05:07 AM UTC

Saudi Arabia: US State Department issues security alert January 5

US State Department warns nationals to exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia in travel advisory issued on January 5

security
SAU

Event

On Sunday, January 5, the United States Department of State issued a security alert, advising its citizens to exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia "due to the heightened risk of missile and drone attacks." This advisory comes after the killing of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani by a US drone strike in Baghdad on Friday, January 3.

The US State Department also warned that "military bases and oil and gas facilities and other critical civilian infrastructure, particularly in the Eastern Province and areas near the border with Yemen, are at heightened risk of attack", urging its citizens to review precautions to take in the event of an attack. 

Context

The US Department of Defense released a statement on January 3 claiming responsibility for an airstrike targeting and killing Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force, near BGW the same day. According to the statement, Soleimani was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was also killed in the strike along with six other individuals. The situation remains fluid.

Advice

Due to the threat from terrorists and regional hostile actors throughout the country, individuals are advised to maintain a high degree of vigilance, to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities, and to be particularly cautious when visiting sites deemed likely to be targeted in an attack (transportation hubs, government buildings, embassies or consulates, energy and military facilities, critical infrastructure, religious sites, markets, locations frequented by foreigners/Westerners, etc.). In the event of a missile attack, individuals should seek shelter indoors immediately, remain as far away from windows as possible, and not touch any debris on the ground, which could be very corrosive.