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US Closes Embassy in Saudi Arabia Over Security Threat - 2003-11-07

All U.S. diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia have been ordered closed and Americans there as well as in Afghanistan are being advised to take precautions because of what the U.S. government says are credible threats of new terrorist attacks.

An announcement from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh Friday said the mission continues to receive credible information that terrorists in the kingdom are preparing to carry out more attacks and that it, as well as the American consulates in Jiddah and Dhahran would be closing until further notice.

"The embassy strongly urges all American citizens in Saudi Arabia to be especially vigilant when they are in any area perceived to be American or Western," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.

The warning comes just days after Saudi authorities announced they had broken up a terrorist cell linked to al-Qaida which they say was plotting attacks during the holy month of Ramadan.

Another alert has gone out to Americans in Afghanistan, especially American journalists who are being warned remnants of the Taleban may attempt to take them hostage... "for use as leverage for the release of Taleban who are under United States control," he said.

American journalists in Afghanistan as well as foreigners working for American news organizations are being urged to increase their security.