US diplomats based in Saudi Arabia have warned their citizens in the Kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks” due to increased tension in the region, the US State Department issued the warning yesterday.
“US citizens living and working near military bases and oil and gas facilities and other critical civilian infrastructure, particularly in the Eastern Province and areas near the border with Yemen, are at heightened risk of attack,” said the official statement.
The warning pointed out that despite Saudi Arabia possessing an early-warning system, attacks by drones or missiles could come with very little notice. “The mission urges American citizens in the Kingdom to immediately review precautions to take in the event of an attack,” said US diplomats.
The guidelines and steps to be taken in the event of an attack include taking cover after a loud explosion or hearing air raid sirens; descending to the lowest levels of buildings with the fewest windows and exterior walls; and seeking cover in a hardened structure whenever and wherever possible.
“Be aware that even if the incoming missile or drone is intercepted, falling debris represents a significant risk,” US citizens were told. “After the attack, stay away from any debris, and monitor major news outlets for official guidance.”
The warning was issued after a significant rise in tensions in the Gulf region, particularly between Iran and the US, with which Saudi Arabia is allied. Drones have been used by Iran and the Houthi militia in Yemen, including in attacks against the Kingdom.
In September last year, for example, Houthi-controlled drones struck a major Saudi Aramco oil facility, resulting in a fire which put it temporarily out of action and disrupted five per cent of global oil supply. In June, Houthi drones hit Abha Airport in the south of Saudi Arabia, wounding 26 people.