Eight Killed in Terrorist Attack at U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Attack Will Not Deter Fight Against Terror

Washington -- The attacks "will not deter us in our fight against terrorism." says Secretary of State Colin Powell after the December 6 attack that killed eight at the consulate there.

Powell was asked for his reaction to the attack against the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah during a visit to Sofia, Bulgaria, and responded by saying: "We deplore this kind of terrorist activity, and my condolences go to the families of those who lost their lives."

Eight persons were killed in a December 6 terrorist assault on the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli.

The dead included three of the five gunmen who breached the compound's security gate and attempted to enter the office building of the U.S. Consul General. Saudi security forces apprehended the other two attackers.

President Bush also reacted to news of the attack December 6, saying it is a reminder that "terrorists are on the move." During a joint appearance in Washington with Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer, Bush said these terrorists want the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia and Iraq to end. "They want us to grow timid and weary," he said, through random killing of innocents. "And that's why," he said, "these elections in Iraq are very important."

Ereli also said four local consulate employees and a guard were killed, and another four local hires were injured. All of them were assigned to transportation, housekeeping and maintenance services, he said. No Americans were seriously injured and, contrary to earlier reports, no hostages were taken, he added.

President Bush and Ereli both expressed American gratitude for the quick action by Saudi authorities, and Ereli said that the attack is a reminder that "we all have common cause in working against terror."

Although authorities are still gathering details, Ereli said the men attempted to drive a vehicle onto the compound grounds and, when stopped, abandoned the vehicle and fought their way in using guns and grenades. They never entered the Consulate General building, he said, but did inflict significant damage to Marine Guard residential quarters.

The Marines and regional security guards took defensive measures to protect those in the compound, and moved personnel to a reinforced, safe area, according to Ereli, who also noted that Consul General Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley was "in the front lines" of the quick response.

Press reports indicate some Saudi security forces were also wounded in the gun battle. Ereli said more detailed accounts would be forthcoming as the United States works with Saudi Arabia to investigate the incident and determine security vulnerabilities.

The Jeddah and Dhahran consulates and the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh will be closed to the public December 7, although Ereli said emergency aid would still be offered to Americans.

(Source: U.S. State Department)

US Consulate in Saudi Arabia Attacked

(VOA) Saudi security forces say an attack at the heavily guarded U.S. consulate in Jeddah has left three gunmen and four Saudi guards dead. A number of people were wounded.

Authorities say several gunmen stormed the consulate in the Red Sea port city Monday and seized a number of hostages. Witnesses heard gunfire and explosions, and a thick pall of smoke rose into the sky from the American compound. Officials say two gunmen were arrested before the attack was over.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

U.S. officials say two local staff members at the consulate were wounded, but all Americans were safe and accounted for.

The attack on the American compound was the latest in a series of assaults in Saudi Arabia over the past two years targeting foreigners in the kingdom.