Saudi unaware of U.S. intelligence on abduction plot
Saudi Arabia had no information about the threat that prompted the U.S. embassy in Riyadh to issue a warning that a terrorist group may be planning to abduct Westerners in the capital, a Saudi government adviser said on Thursday, Reuters reported.
"We have had no prior knowledge or warning about the intelligence that the U.S. Embassy is basing its warning on," the adviser told Reuters, asking not to be named.
The warning, posted on the embassy's website on Wednesday, also advised U.S. citizens living in the kingdom to carry out personal security measures to minimize the risk of abduction.
A U.S. diplomatic source said the warning was based on "solid information," but that the embassy had no plans to reduce the hours it was open or repatriate any staff or family members.
"An investigation will be launched into the intelligence the Americans are referring to," said the government adviser.
Al Qaeda launched a violent campaign in Saudi Arabia in 2003 which fizzled out in 2006, but the government fears the militant group could use its base in Yemen to restart operations.
The United States also views the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has staged several failed attacks on U.S. and Saudi targets, as one of its main security threats.