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U.S. learns of possible terror plot in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department has received an unconfirmed report of a possible terrorist plot that would target "in the near future" a neighborhood housing Americans and Westerners in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"While we cannot certify the credibility of the threat, in light of recent events this information is being shared with the American community," the State Department announced Thursday.

It said the threat specifically mentioned Jeddah's Al Hamra district, an area where some U.S. Consulate families live. Those families have now "relocated to different quarters," according to the announcement.

"U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness," the State Department said.

Riyadh is in central Saudi Arabia and Jeddah is approximately 500 miles west on the Red Sea. The State Department said it informed the American community in Saudi Arabia of the threat Thursday.

The threat comes just days after triple suicide attacks in the Saudi capital of Riyadh targeted residential compounds housing Americans and other Westerners. The Monday night bombings killed 34 people, including eight Americans. (Full story)

Following those attacks, the State Department ordered all non-essential U.S. personnel and their families out of the country. The move covered personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh and the two consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran.

A senior State Department official told CNN the threat information against the Jeddah neighborhood came in a phone call, but has not been corroborated.

"I wouldn't call it specific or actionable," this official said.

But as this official explained, in the wake of Monday's attacks, "We're all over anything that says 'Saudi Arabia.' "

Americans concerned about family members in Saudi Arabia can contact the State Department at (888) 407-4747. Outside the United States, Americans can call (317) 472-2328.

Officials reiterated that the United States is also concerned about the potential for terrorist attacks in East Africa, Yemen, Malaysia and the Philippines.

CNN State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel and producer Elise Labott contributed to this report.


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