US issues Saudi Arabia travel warning ahead of Obama visit

Washington, April 12 (IANS) The US State Department has issued a travel warning for the US citizens planning to visit Saudi Arabia ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to the Gulf country.

In the warning, posted on its website on Monday, the State Department has urged the US citizens to “carefully consider the risks of travelling to Saudi Arabia”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Obama is scheduled to participate in a summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council on April 21 in Saudi Arabia.

“There continues to be reports of threats against US citizens and other Westerners, as well as locations frequented by them,” it said, adding the Islamic States (IS) terrorist group has directed or inspired multiple attacks on mosques last year in Saudi Arabia.

“Ongoing security concerns” in Yemen and Iraq also added a reason for issuing the travel warning, which replaced an old warning issued on September 21, 2015.

The warning said both Al-Qaeda and the IS are planning attacks in the kingdom, including “house compounds, hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, international schools” and other facilities.

It also restricted US government personnel and their families from travelling within 50 miles (80 km) of the Yemeni border, and to the cities of Jizan and Najran, without permission.

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