December 7, 2004: Headlines: COS - Oman: Diplomacy: Saudi Arabia: Terrorism: Electric New Paper, Singapore: The layout of the consulate complex and the enhanced security probably foiled the attackers from targeting Americans inside the complex

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Oman: Special Report: Diplomat and Oman RPCV Oman RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley: December 7, 2004: Headlines: COS - Oman: Diplomacy: Saudi Arabia: Terrorism: Electric New Paper, Singapore: The layout of the consulate complex and the enhanced security probably foiled the attackers from targeting Americans inside the complex
RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit Post

The layout of the consulate complex and the enhanced security probably foiled the attackers from targeting Americans inside the complex

The layout of the consulate complex and the enhanced security probably foiled the attackers from targeting Americans inside the complex

The layout of the consulate complex and the enhanced security probably foiled the attackers from targeting Americans inside the complex

Killed in action

All who died were non-Americans. Some were used as human shields

Caption: Saudi forces gather outside the U.S. consulate compound in Jidda after Islamic militants forced their way in and killed five employees. Officials said four of the five assailants were killed, and the last was being held.
(Saudi Gazette)

Missing in action
No American was hurt. It was a US embassy. Where were they?
-- AFP

NOT one American killed among the 12.

And there was not one American among the injured either.

This might sound puzzling to some, considering that this was a suicide attack and that the gunmen managed to enter the US consulate compound in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, yesterday.

The layout of the consulate complex and the enhanced security probably foiled the attackers from targeting Americans inside the complex.

They did manage to take some embassy staff hostage, even using them as human shields.

Mr Muaffa Jilan Ibrahim, a Yemeni maintenance worker who had light bullet wounds, said: 'They held us hostage for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. We were in two groups of about fours and eights.

'They told the security forces in front of us, 'We have hostages. If you approach, we will shoot'. They put us in front of them as human shields. The security forces stormed in and there was an exchange of fire,' he told Reuters.

Another consular employee, Indian national Richard Simon, whose head was grazed by a bullet, said he counted five gunmen.

He said he had taken refuge in the consulate's emergency 'safe haven', which also came under attack.

'Afterwards, three guys fired on the door, came inside and took four of us to another area and told us to sit down.

'Then some military people came - both sides were firing and we were in between. We were all on the ground and some people were injured,' he said from his bed at King Fahd hospital in Jeddah.

A senior Saudi official, who asked not to be named, said the five non-US embassy employees killed included a Saudi, an Egyptian, a Yemeni, a Pakistani and an Indian.

US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said four of them were employed by the consulate and one was a contractor working for a private company.


Over the years, the Jeddah consulate has been turned into a virtual fortress.

Heavy concrete buffers have been placed outside the compound wall and guards armed with machine-guns regularly patrol the outside.

There is an armoured car with a machine-gun turret at the main entrance and several outlying machine-gun posts.

The consulate compound has a main gate and a side gate on a side road. The visa section, which has to be approached from the side entrance probably escaped the wrath of the gunmen, though some reports have said that they started their attack from the side entrance.

The consulate compound is big - so large that it is not possible to see its other end after one is inside the compound. There are numerous small buildings scattered inside.

All the American nationals had probably been working in buildings tucked away from the main gate.

The attackers' plan of shooting their way past the first round of defences probably worked but they could not get past the second.

The Voice of America said officials in Washington are crediting US Marine guards at the consulate, and Saudi security forces who responded to the attack with quick and decisive action.

The US State Department said that the five gunmen in a vehicle tried to ram their way onto the consulate grounds but when this failed, they fought their way in on foot.

US officials are still piecing together details of the incident. But they say Saudi national guard troops arrived on the scene soon after the attack began and 'pursued and subdued' the attackers, three of whom were killed and two others captured.

A Saudi security official said the militants entered the compound through a side door where mail is delivered, but the US official told a news agency that at least some had used the main entrance.

A guard, working at the Soliman Faqih Hospital employee housing compound, told The Saudi Gazette: 'I heard a small blast, then gunfire, loud gunfire.'

The housing compound lies north of the consulate in the side street.

'I rushed out of the compound to the side street and I saw flames and smoke,' he added.

Mr Abd al-Hamid al-Mutawa, chairman of al-Mutawa Sons & Co, which is contracted to tend the gardens in the consulate complex, told his staff had seen the rebels kill a security guard.

'When confronted, they (attackers) opened fire immediately, killing one security guard. The other guards returned fire, killing one of the attackers,' he said.

All his 10 employees at the consulate escaped unharmed, one of them after hiding in a rubbish skip for four hours.

Many locals and expat workers in the area e-mailed in to the BBC to express surprise that the consulate had been targeted, with one expat describing the complex as 'virtually impregnable'.

The Saudi interior ministry said the eight injured included two Yemenis, two Pakistanis, a Lebanese, a Palestinian, an Indian, and a Sri Lankan.

Five security officers were also injured.

The five gunmen claimed to be members of an 'Al-Fallujah Brigade', in a call to the authorities made shortly after attacking the consulate, said Mr Adel Al-Jubeir, foreign affairs advisor to the Saudi Crown Prince.

But a statement on an Internet web site said the Saudi wing of Al-Qaeda had carried out the attack.

In the shootout and explosions which lasted four hours, parts of the compound including the Marines' living quarters were badly damaged. - Wire services.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Electric New Paper, Singapore

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Oman; Diplomacy; Saudi Arabia; Terrorism



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