in Saudi Arabia
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The Arab News: Three gunmen with suspected Al-Qaeda links who attacked the US consulate in Jeddah today were killed by security forces, the Interior Ministry said. These three were among the five who stormed the consulate building in the morning. The remaining two were arrested following a gunbattle.
At least four members of the Saudi security detail were also killed and several wounded when they clashed with the gunmen who attacked the compound, police said.
“A gang affiliated to the deviant group hurled explosives on the gate of the US consulate in Jeddah at 11 a.m. (0800 GMT) today and then entered the area surrounding the consulate,” an Interior Ministry statement said.
“Security forces dealt with them immediately and brought the situation under control. Three of the attackers were killed and two were arrested after they were wounded. The authorities concerned are following up the incident,” said the ministry statement, quoted by the official SPA news agency.
The ministry did not mention casualties among the security forces, but said it would issue a more detailed account later.
“At least four security people were killed when they clashed with the gunmen who stormed the consulate. Several others were wounded,” a police officer at the scene said.
US officials said all Americans at the consulate were safe and accounted for, although one source said two non-American staff members were wounded.
“I can confirm that two locally-engaged staff members have been injured,” Carol Kalin, spokewoman at the US Embassy in the capital Riyadh, said.
The embassy was still in the process of confirming the status of the rest of local staff members, she added, while reiterating that all American diplomats were accounted for.
Meanwhile, security in the Eastern Province was dramatically heightened. Students at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) were forced to enter the university campus from the gate near Saudi Aramco. The campus’ main gate near the American consulate was inaccessible due to roads surrounding the consulate being blocked by security forces. Even within the KFUPM campus, roads adjacent to the consulate were closed. Saudi Aramco security was also increased with congestion reported at main access points to Aramco.
Traffic was diverted away from highway exits leading to Dhahran Raod near the US Consulate. The US Consulate was cordoned off completely and while operations within the facility continued, no one was allowed in or out. There was relief on the part of hundreds of parents when a decision was eventually made to bring in school buses to transport students home from schools. (Inputs from Agencies)