Monday, December 06, 2004

U.S. Consulate in Saudi Arabia attacked

In a bold attack, Islamic militants threw explosives at the gate of the heavily guarded U.S. consulate in Jiddah on Monday, then forced their way into the building and held civilians at gunpoint, prompting a gunbattle. Eight people, including five local staff, were killed in the three-hour assault.

The Interior Ministry said three of the five attackers were killed, with the other two wounded and in custody.

Saudi security officials initially said four Saudi officers also died, but Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Mansour al-Turki later told The Associated Press that no officers were killed. He said one was seriously injured.

No Americans were killed or held at gunpoint, and just one American was slightly injured as consulate employees were rushed to a safe area in the compound as the attack began, a State Department official said.