Saudi Arabia alerted its security forces due to possible terrorist attacks on shopping malls or energy facilities, according to Bloomberg based on information from Interior Ministry spokesman, Major General Mansour al-Turki.
In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, General al-Turki said the Ministry obtained information regarding a “possible terrorist attack attempt.” He added, “We have informed security forces to be on alert and to take any necessary security procedures.”
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According to Gen. al-Turki, the Ministry alerted Aramco, the state-owned oil company and shopping malls in Riyadh regarding the terrorist threat. He did not provide further information regarding the threat.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil supplier, and it is fighting militants to prevent attacks on energy infrastructures and Western nationals. Saudi Arabia is a key strategic ally of the United States in combating militant groups including al Qaeda and ISIS.
Last month, the United States Embassy stopped its consular services in Jeddah and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia amid heightened security concerns. ISIS has been targeting foreign nationals in a series of attacks since Saudi Arabia joined a coalition led by the United States against it last year.
Last October, a U.S. citizen working for a defense contractor was killed in Riyadh,and a Danish citizen was shot and injured in the city last month.
Disrupting sense of safety in Saudi Arabia
Paul Sullivan, a Middle East specialist at Georgetown University in Washington, commented, “Al-Qaeda has threatened oil and other economic nodes in Saudi Arabia. They would target these sites to disrupt the sense of safety in the kingdom, to try to diminish the credibility of the leadership of Saudi Arabia and to create a new marker for what they will and can do.”
In 2006, a group linked to Al-Qaeda used twin car bombs in its attempt to penetrate the southern gate of Abqaiq, the largest oil processing facility of Saudi Arabia. At least seven terrorists linked to the Abqaiq attack were killed. It was the first direct attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installation by Al-Qaeda.
The oil facilities in Saudi Arabia are among those with the best security. Saudi Aramco employs a private army to secure its facilities. Aside from the private army, Saudi Arabia’s security agencies are also protecting the oil facilities.
Saudi Arabia led airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen
Political observers believed that Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations were threatened by the possibility of the existence of an Iranian proxy power in Yemen.
Nabil Elaraby, chief of the Arab League said Iran was intervening in many nations in the region. According to him, “Yemen was on the brink of the abyss, requiring effective Arab and international moves after all means of reaching a peaceful resolution had been exhausted to end the Houthi coup and restore legitimacy.”