This is a security reminder after ongoing attacks on Najran by Houthi forces at the southern border with Yemen starting on Tuesday, May 5 and Wednesday, May 6, in which Houthi mortars and rockets have hit civilian targets and killed and injured a number of Saudi citizens.
The Embassy and Consulates General strongly recommend that U.S. citizens maintain vigilance, avoid travel to the border areas and employ good security awareness. Please see the below excerpt from the Travel Warning for Saudi Arabia:
The rugged border area dividing Yemen and Saudi Arabia remains porous in many areas, and portions are not clearly defined. U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling within 50 miles of the border, which includes the cities of Jizan and Najran, without permission from Embassy security officials. Visitors, who choose to travel to these areas despite U.S. government concern, should be aware of the potential for cross-border attacks, and that terrorist and criminal elements may be operating there, including some affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). U.S. citizens are strongly urged to read the Department of State Travel Warning for Yemen before traveling to areas near the Yemeni frontier.
U.S. citizens should review the current Travel Warning for Saudi Arabia and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Enrolling in STEP will allow the Embassy to reach you in case of an emergency, and will enable you to receive e-mailed Embassy announcements.
All U.S. citizens are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, and take extra precautions when travelling throughout the country. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia and limits non-essential travel within the country.
U.S. government personnel are currently restricted from traveling to some locations in Saudi Arabia. These include areas within 50 miles of the Yemeni border, the neighborhood of Awamiya in the city of Qatif, and the Goverrnate of Al Hasa in the Eastern Province. U.S. citizens are urged to carefully consider travel plans to these areas.
Regardless of where you are, it is always advisable to keep your security and situational awareness levels high. Please follow these good personal security practices:
Avoid crowds or large gatherings when traveling in public;
Know where you are going and have a plan of what to do in the event you encounter demonstrations or violence;
Identify safe locations in your area and how to get to them quickly;
Tell co-workers or neighbors where you’re going and when you intend to return;
Minimize your profile while in public;
Always carry a cell phone and make sure you have emergency numbers pre-programmed into your phone such as U.S. Consulate General in Dhahran (013-330-3200), the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh (011-488-3800), and U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah (012-667-0080). The emergency number for the Saudi Police, Fire, and Rescue is 999;
Be prepared to postpone or cancel activities for personal safety concerns;
Report concerns you may have to the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, the U.S. Consulate General in Dhahran, or the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah.
U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Department of State’s, Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found. The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review “A Safe Trip Abroad,” which includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
U.S. Embassy Riyadh
Telephone: (966) (11) 488-3800
Fax: (966) (11) 483-0773
U.S. Consulate General Dhahran
Telephone: (966) (13) 330-3200
Fax: (966) (13) 330-0464
U.S. Consulate General Jeddah
Telephone: (966) (12) 667-0080
Fax: (966) (12) 669-3098