Saudi king orders steps against 'terrorist threats'

Monarch gives order after chairing a meeting of the world's top oil exporter's national security council

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. (AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. (AFP/Getty Images)

King Abdullah ordered all necessary measures to protect Saudi Arabia against potential "terrorist threats" after chairing a security meeting to discuss the fall-out from Iraq, the state news agency SPA said.

The world's top oil exporter shares an 800-km (500-mile) border with Iraq, where the militant Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other Sunni Muslim groups have seized towns and cities in a lightning advance this month.

Riyadh has long expressed fears of being targeted by jihadists, including some of its own citizens, who have taken part in conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and earlier this year decreed long jail terms for those who travel overseas to fight.

"Concerned for the national security of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any measures that terrorist organisations or any other groups might resort to ..., (the king) has ordered all necessary measures to protect the gains of the homeland and its stability, and the security of the Saudi people," SPA said.

King Abdullah acted a day before he was due to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah to discuss the crisis in Iraq and Syria, and a day after two Saudi men were involved in a suicide bombing in Lebanon.

The Saudi ambassador in Lebanon said on Thursday he was not able to rule out that Wednesday's attack in a Beirut hotel, which killed one of the Saudis and injured three security guards, was intended to target the embassy, located nearby.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia has been one of the biggest supporters of mainly Sunni rebels in Lebanon's neighbour Syria fighting against President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Riyadh's main regional adversary, Shi'ite Muslim Iran.

However, it has shied away from arming rebel groups like ISIL that it fears are connected to al Qaeda, which waged a campaign of attacks inside the kingdom a decade ago led by veterans of jihad in civil wars in Iraq andAfghanistan.

Saudi Arabia's envoy in Lebanon, Ali Awad Asiri, said it was important to find out who was behind Wednesday's bombing in Beirut, in which local security forces said the Saudi bomber was killed and another Saudi wounded and then arrested at the scene.

"We want to know why a Saudi citizen was involved in such a criminal act," Asiri told television channel al-Hadath. His comment that the attack may have been directed at the Saudi embassy came in a later interview broadcast on the al-Arabiya channel.

"We need to know how they were lured into this, who finances them, why they were in that place to carry out this criminal act. We have special ties with the security forces in Lebanon and the Lebanese government," he said.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi shake-up strengthens king's powerful son

Saudi shake-up strengthens king's powerful son

Royal decrees saw a number of allies of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed...

Filipino expats in Gulf look to hardman Duterte

Filipino expats in Gulf look to hardman Duterte

President on tour of region as more than a million Filipino workers...

Qatar’s love affair with the UK is at stake

Qatar’s love affair with the UK is at stake

GCC country plans to increase its investment in the United Kingdom...

Most Discussed