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The world is under attack from terror

From Homegrown Terrorists, To Imported Threats The World Is Under Attack.
TERROR IN FRANCE
A wave of six terrorist attacks in Paris left at least 130 people dead across the city in the deadliest violence to strike France in decades, November 13, 2015. France declared three days of national mourning.
People worldwide paused for a moment of silence November 17.The attacks, included a shootout in a Paris restaurant, multiple explosions near the Stade de France north of the city and a hostage situation at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.
In this photo, a victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris, November 13, 2015.l your story. Use catchy text, bullets, links and more to bring your words to life.
TERROR IN KENYA
MOGADISHU – A US-born Islamic insurgent, who is believed to be one of the masterminds behind a terror attack on a Kenyan university earlier this year, surrendered to the Somali military at the weekend, a senior official said Monday.
Abdimalik Jones had recently defected from al-Shabaab to fighters backing Islamic State when he surrendered near the southern port town of Barawe in the Lower Shabelle region, the town’s mayor, Hussein Mohamed Barre, told dpa by phone.
“We found him as he was hiding himself somewhere near Barawe after defected from al Shabaab,” Barre said.
“Our troops ordered him to surrender and he did so.”  Some 148 people, most of them students, were killed when al-Shabaab militants stormed the Garissa University campus in north-eastern Kenya in April.  Jones is due to be sent to Mogadishu for further investigation.  A group of former al-Shabaab members recently announced an allegiance to Islamic State.  The group are now under a crackdown from al Shabaab’s top commanders who remain loyal to al-Qaeda.
TERROR IN SAN BERNARDINO CA
Federal officials around the world today are urgently trying to track the backgrounds and contacts of the newly-married parents of a baby girl who killed 14 people in California last week in a suspected ISIS-inspired attack, as a new photograph emerged showing the future terrorists entering the U.S. together for the first time last year.
The image, apparently taken as the couple moved through customs in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on July 27, 2014 and obtained exclusively by ABC News, shows Tashfeen Malik clad in all black looking directly into the camera as the taller Syed Rizwan Farook stands behind her, black bearded and with a blank expression. It is the most recent photograph of the two to be made public.
U.S. officials previously said that Farook, a U.S. citizen originally from Chicago, traveled to Saudi Arabia in July 2014 and returned less than two weeks later with Malik in tow. Malik, a Pakistani who officials said spent much of her life in Saudi Arabia, entered the U.S. on a so-called “fiancé” visa, which allowed Farook to petition for her entry ahead of marriage. The two were married in the eyes of U.S. law in California just a month after their arrival, although some officials have said they could have been married earlier abroad.
TERROR IN LONDON
A police car is seen parked outside Leytonstone station in north London on December 6, 2015. Police were called to reports of people being attacked at Leytonstone around 19:00 GMT on December 5.
The police have said that they are considering a knife attack the previous evening as a ” terrorist incident” after reports that the man reportedly shouted “this is for Syria”. The man was arrested after being Tasered by police. One man suffered serious knife injuries while two others received minor injuries.

By Juliette Kayyem, CNN National Security Analyst

The attacks in Paris were purposefully targeted to impact a city where people go to eat, drink, watch sports and listen to music. These were no military targets, embassies, mass transit systems, hotels holding foreign officials or government buildings.

Instead, restaurants, a sporting arena and a concert hall were chosen because they represent the very benefits of urban life and the vulnerabilities of a crowded space. The Paris tragedy is of such consequence because it was an attack focused on the young, the social, the future: the very heart of every city.

If this is the wave of the future, then every city is inherently vulnerable. What makes them vital — their very openness — also puts residents at risk. For public safety officials, what to do about threats in a city is a constant balance between the risk and the reward. And it is in this context that the decision for an indeterminate lockdown must be considered.

Soldiers stand guard in front of the Brussels Central Train Station on Sunday as the Belgian capital remained on the highest security alert level over fears of a Paris-style attack.     

Soldiers stand guard in front of the Brussels Central Train Station on Sunday as the Belgian capital remained on the highest security alert level over fears of a Paris-style attack.

This weekend in Belgium, in response to specific and presumably credible intelligence in the hunt for the Paris terrorists, Brussels went into lockdown. The decision has now been made by the Prime Minister to extend the lockdown through Monday, a work and school day, at the very least. The economic and psychological impact are immeasurable.

Belgium is in the midst of a counterterrorism mission, and we must rely on its good-faith efforts to protect the population and thwart the next attack. But Belgian leaders’ decisions expose a major challenge in security efforts and one that needs to be prioritized for a future when most cities are likely to have to respond to threats of terror: How do you close down an entire city?

Terror alert raised to maximum in Brussels

Terror alert raised to maximum in Brussels 01:25

Given mobility of people and mass transit systems, cities can find it impossible to try to limit the impact — or what we in disaster management call the cascading consequences — of a shutdown.

Mass transit systems are a perfect example.

During the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent chase of the Tsarnaev brothers, city and state public safety officials believed it was important to shut down areas of Boston as they pursued Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. What they found, however, was that the system of mass transit was so intertwined — buses leading to trains, and vice versa — that to close down a single part of it was impossible. It was all or nothing. And they chose all, closing Boston and surrounding suburbs for a day.

Why planes remain a terrorist target

Why planes remain a terrorist target (Opinion)

This will be true for most cities.

Therefore, emergency response planners should begin to make plans for the potential of closures that are the least disruptive. Most training around city closures, especially in the context of snow storms or hurricanes, assumes that systems are either running or not. It may be in the context of the threat environment that leaders — not just public safety leaders, but those in transit and design — need to develop more limited responses.

But, assuming that isn’t possible, the next step must be to ensure that criteria are well established for when a lockdown occurs and as importantly, when it will be lifted.

It cannot simply be that a terrorist has gone missing; that would mean every major city would be in constant shutdown. Such criteria could include the specificity and veracity of the intelligence and the likelihood that the attack would be thwarted by a shutdown.

Cities and nations must have very clear criteria for when and how they will reopen. In Boston during the marathon bombing in 2013, the governor reopened the city before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. The city struggled to explain how it could convince people that things were safe while there was a terrorist still on the loose.

As it turned out, it was because the lockdown was lifted that a suburban resident saw traces of blood and alerted the police to where Dzhokhar was hiding, suggesting that the “crowds” can often be used to help in counterterrorism efforts.

How GOP 'outrage' helps ISIS deliver its message

How GOP ‘outrage’ over refugees helps ISIS

I don’t know, in the absence of a major arrest, how Brussels moves forward after Monday. The country is rightfully on edge, made more so by being told to stay put. The economic impact of a lost business day alone will be felt throughout the country and much of the EU.

The psychological impacts only aid the sense that that terrorists have changed how we live. Thus, shutting down a city is a tactic that should only be used in the rarest of circumstances, based on criteria that are known to the public and that are understood by those who implement them.

From public accounts, Belgium chose to close the city because of an imminent threat and the hunt for the terrorist, Salah Abdeslam, responsible for the French bombings.

Only they can make that judgment call, and there is no “right” answer about what they should have done. But, at some stage soon, there has to be a return to normal, and to do so, leaders need to publicly set the stage for how the city’s engines of activity will start churning again, especially if the elusive Abdeslam is not found.

 

Worldwide Travel Alert For U.S. Citizens

SF Sniper Prepares for Operation

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.

0827-Venezuela-Amuay-refinery-explosion_full_600

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places.  Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.  U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots.  We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism.  Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

For further information:

Islamophobia Works in the Islamic State’s Favor

Islamic State fighters in Iraq. Photo:Medyan Dairieh / VICE News

Four days after the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, my team and I asked the audience of my BBC Asian Network phone-in show a question, as we do every day. This time, it was: “Will the Paris attacks make life more difficult for British Muslims?”

It had been less than a week since the terrorists of Daesh, or the so-called Islamic State, had gone on their murderous rampage. So, to some, it may have seemed insensitive to be asking so soon how British Muslims were feeling when French hearts from all backgrounds were broken and a manhunt to catch the surviving perpetrators was still ongoing.

Our reasoning was that what IS wanted was for discord to fester—for Islamophobia in the West to become deeply embedded, with the subsequent hatred and mistrust leading to more eager recruits being seduced into their death cult. So it was important for us to gauge whether or not they were succeeding in their aim. We also wanted to discover what it felt like on the ground for the average law-abiding, tax-paying, house-tending, car-driving, life-living British Muslim—or indeed British Asian, being that the average Islamophobe isn’t going to ask a potential victim to fill in a questionnaire clarifying their religious viewpoint before attacking them.

The calls, emails, and texts largely portrayed a depressing picture. I remember a British Muslim caller talking about how his sister had told their mother to not go to the bank that morning because “white people may attack you.” And this was not an isolated case of fear.

It is against this backdrop that The Sun newspaper printed its recent front page headline, “1 in 5 Brit Muslims have sympathy for Jihadis”—a conclusion the journalist responsible made after seeing the results of a poll that never mentioned the word jihadis. The survey’s 1,003 respondents were asked if they had any sympathy for young British Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria. Did that include members of the British Kurdish community going to Syria to fight IS, or joining the Free Syrian Army who are battling Assad and IS?

On the Sunday night before the print copy of the paper hit the newsstands, some had already seen the front page online and tweeted about how irresponsible and inflammatory they felt it was. A British Muslim member of the public, who also happens to follows me on Twitter, tweeted “All 5 Muslims in our household despise extremists. Either me or @TheSun is lying. Only one of us lies habitually.”

READ: I Conducted the Sun’s ‘1 in 5 Muslims’ Poll and Was Shocked By How It Was Used

On Monday morning as people awoke to this headline, my debate show team knew that our listeners would want to discuss the impact it would have. We asked “Is today’s Sunheadline a wake up call to British Muslims or irresponsible journalism?” Many sided with the latter part of the question, as did others in the media. That same day there were articles in other newspapers questioning the methodology and the very basic journalistic shortcomings of the piece, and it was beginning to look like a blatant piece of hate-mongering to some of my listeners.

The Sun replied to the criticism by stating that they had “published the poll’s findings clearly and accurately, including the questions in full.” A non-Muslim emailer called Karamjeet wrote, “The reporting in The Sun certainly doesn’t surprise me, but the way it is reported is totally irresponsible and inflammatory.” Another listener texted, “The Sun is very conniving… they were asking very leading questions, the answers of which could be easily manipulated.” With more than a hint of frustration in her tone, another listener said, “Like those three monkeys, the media by and large chooses to stay blind, deaf, and dumb to those voices who speak out against extremists and terrorists. What do they want? That I renounce my faith? That I take up non-Islamic practices? Will that then assuage them?”

The fact that British Muslim callers have described how their work colleagues no longer treat them with the courtesy they once experienced, or that they are fearful for the futures of their kids, should act as a wake-up call to politicians and journalists that ill-conceived headlines have repercussions for people who just wish to practice their faith and go about their business. We all have a responsibility to confront hatred and bigotry wherever it exists, and at the very least do nothing to unnecessarily exacerbate the situation.

You only have to see the ridicule and backlash that The Sun has faced this week to realize that we are a tolerant nation. But for some of my British Muslim listeners, the fear is that those headlines will be read by some as gospel, tainting the way some of their fellow Brits view them. Instead, we must all unite and show solidarity, for that will only infuriate IS and help to quell the number of Europeans making the journey to Syria to join the terrorists.

England’s New Privatised Police Force Sells Fear to Old People

Stephen Beardsley has the handshake of a bouncer and the CV of a mercenary. He served in a tank crew in the first Gulf War, fought off Kalashnikov-toting Somali pirates as they raided transporter ships in the Indian Ocean, and was dubbed “Big Steve” by tabloid paps as a bodyguard for Wonderbra model Sophie Anderton.

Now, he’s bringing that experience to the mean streets of Frinton-on-Sea, forming a private police force to protect the terrified residents in a seaside town that the regular police have virtually left at the mercy of crime.

Before Steve and his private security team turned up there was only the thinnest of blue lines protecting Frinton. With police cuts taking their toll, the town’s nearest police station is set to close. Frintonians are not taking any chances on the tsunami of criminality that could hypothetically hit at any moment. Araura Global Solutions (AGS) is stepping into the vacuum.

It may be a sensible decision under budgetary stress for the police not to concentrate resources on an area with as little crime as Frinton. In September of this year there were only 34 reported crimes, while nearby Clacton witnessed nearly ten times that number. But the relative absence of crime hasn’t stopped a few hundred of Frinton’s residents paying AGS £2 a week to patrol the neighbourhood in their battenberg 4x4s.

Steve in his office

When I visited Steve to join one of his nightly patrols, he was sure to bat off suggestions that he runs an unaccountable racket of hired vigilantes. “There’s only one law out there and that’s the police,” he said, adding that the cuts to the UK’s police forces are “tragic”.

He said he opts for a calm, consensual policing style – maintaining a preventative presence and talking sense into trouble makers rather than beating it into them. “If you go in there thinking you’re Charlie Big Bananas, you’re in for a world of shit,” he told me. As such, “it can be pretty boring”, he admitted. Really? So not like The Bill then? “It’s more like Last of the Summer Wine.”

AGS are hoping to get accredited by the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme, which will mean the Home Office granting them some pseudo-police powers like confiscating fags from kids or taking the name and address of someone acting in an anti-social manner. For now, they’re limited to citizen’s arrests and trying to look as much like real cops as possible.

Many communities would be delighted to see the back of the police – the criminal community, for one. But also young people from ethnic minorities communities sick of stop and searches; young people who like congregating in public spaces; the friends and families of over 1,500 people who have died in police custody since 1990; protesters who don’t like being hospitalised; or just people who don’t like getting beaten up.

So what kind of community would be so horrified by the absence of police that they would pay to bolster them with their own private A-Team?

On the way to Steve’s office, a taxi driver had offered a clue: “Frinton? It’s OK if you don’t mind walking around with your nose in the air. If you’re not from Frinton, they think you’re a different class.” He then told me a story about a driver who got pulled over by the police without insurance. Apparently her response was, “I’m a Frintonian” and that said she never left the area anyway, so why bother with insurance? “They think they’re above the law.”

Hybrid Firepower: Serbu Firearms’ SU-15 Rifle

Serbu Firearms’ SU-15 upper brings AK operation to the AR platform!
OCT 12, 2015

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With its unique hybrid design, Serbu Firearms’ new SU-15 upper allows shooters to keep the ergonomics, accuracy and parts interchangeability of the AR platform while increasing its reliability.

It’s hard to argue against the ergonomics of the AR. Few rifles are as easy to handle or operate. The safety’s location with this design is excellent, making it easy to access from either side while maintaining control at all times. Collapsible stocks make it possible for a wide variety of people to shoot an AR comfortably. The triggers are simple, with dozens of choices ranging from super-fast competition triggers to those built for tactical applications. Upper receivers of various calibers, barrel lengths and configurations can be easily changed to meet any need. There are lots of things to like, and the design has been refined and improved over the decades.

For many, the weakest point of the AR system is the buffer and the spring located in the buffer tube. Changing barrel lengths or calibers often requires these to be changed. Having that spring “boinging” in your ear can be distracting, if not outright annoying.

It can create issues with carrier tilt and other factors that effect reliability. Maybe the most limiting factor is that it makes folding stocks all but impossible without significant expense and alteration. Operating systems have improved over the years, but most long for the reliability, simplicity and robust construction of the AR’s strongest competitor, the AK-47. This has resulted in several attempts to meld the two designs. In the last few years we’ve witnessed what looks to be the best solution—an upper assembly built with AK-type internals that drops on an AR lower receiver, providing the best of both worlds.

To read the full article, check out the 2016 issue of GUN ANNUAL. To purchase the issue, go to PersonalDefenseWorld.com/subscribe.

U.S. Marines, Gabonese Share Tactics

PONGARA, Gabon — U.S. Marines and Gabon’s Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux, or ANPN, worked together Sept. 14-25, at the Pongara National Forest to help the nation’s fight against wildlife trafficking.

At the request of the Gabonese government and through coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, the Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, trained with ANPN park rangers in infantry tactics to help build the nation’s capacity to counter trafficking of ivory and other animal-related products.

The training comes at a time when the elephant population has been dramatically decreasing across central Africa – faster than the elephants can reproduce, according to multiple news sources.

RELATED: U.S. Marines, Tanzanian Rangers Train to Fight Trafficking

An Aug. 20 BBC news article reported the forest elephant population is down to 15,000 from 22,000 in Gabon’s Minkebe National Park, which is approximately the size of Delaware, due to high demand for the elephants’ ivory tusks.

Gabon contains almost half of all the elephant population in central Africa estimated to be nearly 100,000. This “presents an enticing target for traffickers, especially as wildlife populations fall elsewhere” according to a June 28 National Geographic article.

In February 2014, President Barack Obama outlined initiatives in the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking that calls for combined efforts to reduce the demand for these products while simultaneously curbing the illegal trade industry.

The strategy calls for “combined efforts from nonprofits, corporations, individuals, and foreign government partners, to make that happen.”

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is determined to rid the country of this problem and recently requested outside assistance to counter the activities that are destroying elephant populations in the central African region.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Nikzad, the SPMAGTF-CR-AF Gabon team leader, and his team of five Marines and sailors were in Pongara’s National Forest training 14 park ranger supervisors using the “train the trainer” model.

“Before the training started, the ANPN leadership took all of us out to areas where elephants and other wildlife roam and the tour goes to show their dedication to preserve the wildlife here,” said Nikzad. “Most of these guys have taken part in this type of training in past rotations. They are fighting criminals who have military-type skills and the tactical training we teach them, coupled with the train-the-trainer approach, will ultimately assist them in their fight.”

SPMAGTF-CR-AF Det. A is based out of Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, where they stage and prepare for theater security cooperation missions into various countries in Africa. This specific iteration is manned by Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, permanently based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Coast Guardsmen from various stations across the United States.

Arrests Show Arrival of Barrio 18 Gang in Italy

Barrio 18 members arrested in Italy

Italian police arrested 15 suspected Barrio 18 members in Milan and other nearby cities in northern Italy, reported AFP.

The group — which was mostly comprised of Salvadorans but also reportedly included two Italians — is accused of crimes including extortion, drug trafficking, armed robbery and the attempted murder of a rival from the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang.

An Italian judge ordered the arrests following an investigation that began in January 2014 after a female Salvadoran accused one of the group’s members of sexually assaulting her, according to AFP.

SEE ALSO: Barrio 18 News and Profile

Central American gangs like Barrio 18 and MS13, which are known as “maras,” have been operating in Italy for years, particularly in northern immigrant communities, the report added.

InSight Crime Analysis

Over the last two years, security forces in both Italy and Spain have noted the expansion of the MS13 in Europe, and these latest report confirms they are not alone — their great rivals in Barrio 18 have also crossed the ocean.

The key question surrounding this development is whether the spread is a result of Central American migrants bringing mara street gang culture with them and setting up autonomous networks, or whether these new European based factions are running criminal operations with maras in Central America, suggesting the gangs have made the leap into transnational organizations.

Both gangs are also well established in parts of the United States and the US government has already designated the MS13 a transnational criminal organization, ranking them alongside criminal groups such as the Mexican cartels. However, despite evidence of cross-border collaboration in criminal activities, the decentralized nature and highly localized and territorial focus of the maras has always cast doubts on this classification.

There have also been reports of the Spanish maras coordinating with their counterparts in the Americas, but even if this level of cooperation were to expand, it is unlikely they would have the capacity to coordinate serious transatlantic criminal operations. If they were to seek to establish control over transnational activities such as drug trafficking in Europe, they also would likely encounter formidable opposition; in Spain drug trafficking and associated activities such as contract killing is largely controlled by offshoots of Colombian cartels, while Italy is the domain of powerful and well-connected mafias such as the ‘Ndrangheta.

Saudi Arabia Travel Warning

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia.  There have been attacks on U.S. citizens and other Western expatriates within the past year and there continue to be reports of threats against U.S. citizens and other Westerners, as well as sites frequented by them. There have been multiple Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) directed and inspired attacks on mosques in the past four months. The latest, in the city of Abha on August 6, targeted members of the Saudi security forces. Furthermore, there are ongoing security concerns related to the crisis in Yemen, particularly border incursions and missile attacks across the Saudi-Yemeni border by forces within Yemen. This replaces the Travel Warning issued February 24, 2015.

U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from traveling within 50 miles of the Yemeni border, and to the cities of Jizan and Najran, without permission from U.S. Embassy security officials. U.S. government personnel are also prohibited from traveling to the city of Qatif in the Eastern Province and its surrounding suburbs, including Awamiyah, and to the Al Hasa Governorate due to violent episodes that have occurred there in the past.

Security threats continue and terrorist groups, some affiliated with ISIL or Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have targeted both Saudi and Western interests. Possible targets include housing compounds, hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, international schools, and other facilities where Westerners congregate, as well as Saudi government facilities and economic/commercial targets within the Kingdom. Consular services at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates were canceled March 15-19, 2015 due to heightened security concerns at our diplomatic facilities in the Kingdom.

Multiple attacks on mosques have occurred in Saudi Arabia over the past four months, resulting in significant loss of life. On May 22, 2015 a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Al-Qadeeh in Al Qatif Governorate. On August 6, 2015 a mosque in the city of Abha was bombed. Most of the victims in that attack were members of the Saudi security forces. On May 29, 2015 a blast occurred at another mosque in the Al Anoud district of Dammam.

U.S. citizens have been the targets of recent attacks in the Kingdom. On January 30, 2015, two U.S. citizens were fired upon and injured in Hofuf in Al Hasa Governorate (Eastern Province). On October 14, 2014, two U.S. citizens were shot at a gas station in Riyadh. One was killed and the other wounded.

There have been several attacks on other nationalities during the past year. On November 29, 2014, a Canadian national was assaulted by a lone attacker with a cleaver at a shopping mall in Dhahran. On November 22, 2014, a Danish national was shot and injured in Riyadh by alleged ISIL supporters. On November 3, 2014, armed assailants attacked a community center in Dalwah in the Al Hasa Governorate, killing at least seven people and injuring several others. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack.

The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reports of violence near the border with Yemen, including reports of small arms fire, bombs, artillery, and missile impacts. Media and independent sources report armed groups crossing the border into Saudi Arabia to conduct attacks on Saudi Arabian territory, primarily near western border cities, including Najran. The rugged border area dividing Yemen and Saudi Arabia remains porous in some areas and boundaries are not clearly defined. As the conflict continues in Yemen, violence can spill across the border at unpredictable times and locations. Forces hostile to Saudi Arabia within Yemen have weapons systems including mortars, artillery, and missiles that have been launched at targets in Saudi Arabia. On June 6, 2015, a missile was shot down 50 miles inside Saudi Arabia by Saudi forces that may have been targeting the King Khalid Air Base near Khamis Mushait. On August 26, 2015, a missile was fired across the border near Jizan and was intercepted by Saudi military. There is an increased possibility of strikes within 50 miles of the border, which could result in civilian deaths.

Visitors who choose to travel to these areas despite U.S. government concerns should be aware that, in addition to the above noted border attacks, terrorist and criminal elements may be operating there, including 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 in Saudi Arabia are strongly encouraged to select hotels or housing compounds with careful attention to security measures and location. U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings at all times and are advised to keep a low profile; vary times and routes of travel; exercise caution while driving, and entering or exiting vehicles; and ensure that travel documents and visas are current and valid.

If the security threat changes or specific threats affecting U.S. citizens are discovered, this information will be made available through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and U.S. Mission websites. Emergency Messages, Security Messages, and Messages for U.S. Citizens can be found on the U.S. Embassy Riyadh website.

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 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
Emergency after-hours telephone: (966) (11) 488-3800

U.S. Consulate General Dhahran
Telephone: (966) (13) 330-3200
Fax: (966) (13) 330-0464
Emergency after-hours telephone: (966) (13) 330-3200

U.S. Consulate General Jeddah
Telephone: (966) (12) 667-0080
Fax: (966) (12) 669-3098
Emergency after-hours telephone: (966) (12) 667-0080

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