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US Embassy issues security alert.

RIYADH:The US Embassy in Riyadh issued a security alert for US citizens following the announcement concerning the raid on two terror cells in Riyadh and Jeddah by the Saudi Ministry of Interior.

In the warning the embassy said: "Terrorist groups on the Arabian Peninsula continue to pose a threat to US citizens and US-affiliated businesses, restaurants, and facilities. Based on recent trends, terrorist groups may increasingly aspire to conduct smaller-scale attacks against Western targets." The embassy reminds its citizens to be aware when in public and when traveling.

"Given that predictable targets may be desired by these groups, we remind US persons of the importance of varying their routes and timing of routine local travel." Citizens were advised to be cautious of their surroundings and of strangers paying undue attention to them or their vehicles.

The embassy outlined personal security practices including: * Being vigilant in areas frequented by Westerners particularly shopping centers, restaurants and educational facilities; * Being aware of any suspicious activities when stopped at intersections or stop signs and entering and exiting compounds; * Checking parked vehicles before entering particularly when left in uncontrolled environments; * Avoiding crowds or large gatherings in public; * Letting others know about travel intentions, knowing intended destinations; * Having a plan in the event of demonstrations or violence and * Identifying safe areas like police stations, hospitals, or Saudi government buildings.

* The embassy urged its citizens to report suspicious activity to local authorities and the US Embassy or US consulate.

Citizens were advised to carry a cell phone with pre-programmed emergency numbers for the US Embassy in Riyadh (01-488-3800), US Consulate General in Dhahran (03-330-3200), and US Consulate General in Jeddah (02-667-0080).

The emergency number for the Saudi Police, Fire, and Rescue is 999.

US citizens traveling abroad were asked to regularly monitor the US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website where current worldwide cautions and travel warnings and country-specific information can be found. Citizens were also asked to review "A Safe Trip Abroad," which includes valuable security information for those living and traveling abroad.

Travelers can follow the embassy's Twitter account and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook and download the free Smart Traveler iPhone App.

In addition to information on the Internet, citizens may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the US and Canada, or outside the US and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

These numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except US federal holidays.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:7SAUD
Date:Aug 29, 2012
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