This security message is being sent following the fatal bombing at a mosque in Abha today, August 6, 2015. It is not clear at this time how many people were killed or who might be responsible. It has been reported that those killed were members of Saudi security forces. Saudi authorities are investigating the incident.
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 some 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. government personnel continue to be restricted from traveling to the city of Qatif and its surrounding suburbs, and the Governorate of Al Hasa in the Eastern Province. U.S. citizens are urged to carefully consider any travel plans to any of these areas.
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.
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.
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Saudi Arabia Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia located at Abdullah Ibn Huthafah Al-Sahmi Street, Diplomatic Quarter, at +966 11 488 3800, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +966 11 488 3800.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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