RIYADH (Reuters) – U.S. diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia reopened on Wednesday after closing for two days because of a threat of militant attacks, the U.S. embassy said.
An embassy spokesman said the embassy in Riyadh and the consulates in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and the eastern city of Dhahran had resumed operations on Wednesday based on "further assessment of available threat information."
The missions were closed on Monday and Tuesday because of a threat against U.S. government buildings in the kingdom. But Saudi Arabia, battling a two-year campaign of al Qaeda violence, said it had no solid information about any imminent attacks.
Britain also warned this week that militants were in the final stages of planning attacks in the kingdom, and Australia said it had received "credible reports" that Islamic extremists were planning strikes in the near future.
Suicide bombers have hit several residential compounds housing foreigners, and militants also staged a daylight raid on the U.S. consulate in Jeddah. At least 91 foreign nationals and Saudi civilians have been killed in the violence.
Oil hit a record high just above $64 a barrel on Tuesday, partly on fears of a militant attack in the kingdom, the world”s largest oil exporter.
Last month, the U.S. told its citizens in Saudi Arabia that militants were plotting fresh attacks and later banned military personnel from traveling around the kingdom.
That warning came as Saudi security forces said they had discovered an arms cache outside Riyadh with two tonnes of chemicals used by suspected al Qaeda militants to make bombs.
U.S. diplomatic missions in the kingdom have closed briefly several times in recent years because of threats.
Saudi security consultant Nawaf Obaid said the latest U.S. embassy warning was "counterproductive," causing undue alarm and triggering a chain reaction among other Western embassies to follow suit.
"The authorities have no information of any real imminent threat. If the Americans know anything else they should share it before taking action," he said, adding the closure had a worrying impact on the price of oil.
Saudi authorities have killed or arrested all but three men on a list of 26 most wanted suspects published in 2003.
In June, officials listed another 36 wanted men they are still seeking.