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December 6, 2004
American Consulate In Saudi Arabia Under Attack

Gunmen of unknown identity shot their way into the American consulate in Jiddah, injuring two people and reportedly taking foreign workers hostage, according to the AP:

Attackers using a car struck the heavily guarded U.S. consulate with explosives and machine guns on Monday, injuring several people but no Americans. After a gunbattle inside, one attacker was killed, two were arrested and two others were surrounded, Saudi security officials said.

Saudi security forces also said they believed four of the attackers had seized an unknown number of hostages inside the building amid the fighting. Area residents spoke of seeing Saudi forces enter the consulate shortly before a fierce gunbattle was heard inside. A short time later, the gunfire stopped.

In Riyadh, the U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Carol Kalin said two local staff members were injured, but all American staff were safe.

Saudi Arabia had been relatively quiet over the past year, although American workers in the kingdom live under strict security for their own safety. The Washington Post profiled the lives of Americans in Saudi Arabia a few months ago and noted that fewer appeared willing to stay, with all of the threats surrounding them. I suspect this incident will not make them feel any more sanguine about their situation.

Once again, though, when terrorists strike at American embassies, they mostly victimize the locals who work there. The same was true in Tanzania and Kenya, when al-Qaeda bombed our embassies there; their attacks killed 200 Africans and a dozen Americans. I doubt that the irony will be lost on the Saudi government as they prosecute the attackers they've arrested.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 6, 2004 5:50 AM

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