State Department Warns Americans Of Credible Terrorist ‘Threat’ In Jeddah

A message published online and distributed to all U.S. travelers who are members of the state department warns of a “threat” in Jeddah, which was initially made to the U.S. Embassy in Saudia Arabia in an area that is known to have a lot of American tourists.

No details of the threat in Jeddah are specified, but the posted message tells everyone to be aware.

“Remember to vary your routes and times in all instances when traveling in the Kingdom. All U.S. citizens are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, and take extra precautions when travelling throughout the country.”

Over the past several weeks, the terrorist group, which refers to itself as ISIS, has claimed responsibility for attacks throughout the world, Jeddah included, which makes the latest threat in the area credible.

Saudia Arabia is considered an ally of the United States and is also involved with the U.S.-led coalition to fight ISIS in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The terror group is reportedly losing territory, causing them to retaliate by increasing their attacks.

Jordan and Saudia Arabia are part of the U.S.-led coalition forces fighting ISIS in the Middle East
Along with Saudia Arabia, Ash Carter meets with Jordanian Armed Forces after Saudia Arabia as part of a Middle East tour to talk about defeating ISIS. [Image by Pool/Getty Images]

The state department spokesman, John Kirby, offered more details of their threat alert in Jeddah at a briefing.

“It’s a security message, not a travel warning, that our consulate felt that the information they had was credible enough, serious enough to warrant sending that message out immediately.”

There were three attacks in Saudia Arabia on July 4, and one of them was near the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, which was followed by additional suicide bombings in Medina and Qatif on the same day.

Various sources report that a controversial top cleric Abdulaziz al-Sheikh in the country has even called the Islamic State a enemy of Islam, which no doubt only makes the Sunni nation more of a target as it would consider the statement a threat to their existence, on top of the fact that Saudia Arabia has increased their crackdown on suspected terrorists, which Al Arabiya recently reported on.

Attacks on Jeddah increased as ISIS loses territory in the Middle East.
Monday July 4, 2016 TV grab from footage released by Al-Ekhbariya, Saudi security forces investigate the scene of an explosion in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. [Image by Al-Ekhbariya/AP Photo]

Jeddah is considered the second biggest port city in the country, which has a lot of restaurants, departments stores, and markets.

The Shiite minority in Jeddah share the weight of the threat along with Americans throughout the kingdom, as many of the attacks have been in Shiite communities in order to build up sectarianism among Muslim groups, which the Inquisitr reported on as a likely reason for their specific targets.

Al-Arabiya is also one of the sources to report on a recently held anti-ISIS meeting between Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Wednesday, a continuation of a bilateral meeting which took place at the Pentagon in June.

An article by NBC News provides more details on the recent attacks in Saudia Arabia which also mentions the threat in Jeddah, saying that ISIS is trying to topple the Saudi king.

The article makes a comparison with the latest reported threat in Jeddah: the bombing campaign by Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in 2003 and 2004, which resulted in the arrest of hundreds of suspected terrorists. The article also quotes former senior director for Near East and North African Affairs at the National Security Council during that time, Bruce Riedel, of his view on the attacks this month and what it means for the port city.

“There is clearly an infrastructure from the Gulf to the Red Sea supporting terrorism. The attack on the Prophet’s Mosque on the eve of Eid [the holiday that ends Ramadan] is unprecedented. Bin Laden never attacked the Holy Mosques in his insurrection a decade ago.”

The article states that many young people have left Saudia Arabia to join ISIS, which is said to be the source of most of the terrorist group’s recruitment, making the threat in Jeddah even more imminent.

[Image by Jeddah Images | Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 4.0]