State Department Warns Americans in Saudi Arabia About ‘Potential, Imminent Threat’

By Denisse Moreno
Denisse Moreno
Denisse Moreno
July 21, 2016 Updated: July 21, 2016

The State Department issued a security alert for U.S. citizens in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 21.

“The United States Embassy has received reports of a potential, imminent threat against U.S. citizens in areas of Jeddah frequented by westerners, such as markets, restaurants, and shopping malls, among others,” said the State Department.

Officials recommend that Americans vary their routes and times when traveling in Saudi Arabia, as well as being aware of their surroundings and taking extra precautions.

“Regardless of where are you, keep your security and situational awareness levels high, be prepared to postpone or cancel activities for personal safety concerns,” officials say.

U.S. officials are advising Americans to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia and limit non-essential travel within the kingdom.

The department reminded travelers with pilgrimage visas issued by the Saudi government that they are strictly prohibited from travel outside of the cities of Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah.

Saudi women shop for dates at a market in the city of Jeddah on June 3, 2016, as the faithful prepare for the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. More than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world will start to celebrate Ramadan the first week of June, during which observant Muslims fast from dusk to dawn. / AFP / STRINGER        (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Saudi women shop for dates at a market in the city of Jeddah on June 3, 2016.
(STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

As for U.S. government personnel and their families, they are prohibited from traveling within 50 miles of the Yemeni border and to the cities of Jizan and Najran without permission. U.S. government personnel may not travel to the city of Qatif in the Eastern Province and its surrounding suburbs, including Awamiyah, Hofuf, and Al Hasa Governorate due to violent incidents that have occurred there in the past.

The State Department recommends that individuals who have concerns should report them to the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, or the U.S. Consulate General in Dhahran.