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Purported al Qaeda militants threaten airlines

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The statement warns of attacks on airlines and other means of transportation.
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(CNN) -- Purported al Qaeda militants in Saudi Arabia warned in a written statement Monday that they plan attacks on U.S. and other Western airlines and other means of transportation.

The statement, translated by CNN and signed by al Qaeda's organization in the Arabian Peninsula, was posted on two Islamic Web sites.

The message warned Muslims not to spend time with Westerners, to avoid being caught up in any attack, "as well as avoiding using all shapes and forms of transportation by them."

"All compounds, bases and means of transport, especially Western and American airlines, will be the direct target for our coming operations in the near future," the statement says.

"We are renewing our calls and warnings to our Muslim brothers, warning them not to mingle with the American and Western crusaders and the rest of the of the infidels in the Arab peninsula."

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said there was "no indication that al Qaeda was currently targeting airliners in the U.S."

She said "it is difficult to verify the authenticity of these statements posted on the Web," although she noted that this latest threat was consistent with other chatter on the Web about attacks on the United States.

A senior security official from a major U.S. air carrier said the Transportation Security Administration had not warned airlines of any new threat.

The purported al Qaeda statement also warned Muslims to stay away from visiting Westerners in their homes and compounds and avoid using all shapes and forms of transportation used by them.

"For those Muslims who don't abide by this, they will pay the price by getting killed, too. And there is no other legal choice but fighting them and disrupting them.

"We also warn security forces and guards of crusader [Western] compounds and American bases and all those who stand with America, its agents ... and the tyrants of the Saudi government, and urge them to repent."

Meanwhile Monday, a reporter working for the British Broadcasting Corp. remained in critical condition a day after he was injured and his Irish colleague was killed in a drive-by shooting in Riyadh.

Sunday's shooting in the Saudi capital killed Simon Cumbers, 36, and injured BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, 42, according to the BBC. (Full story)

There have been several recent terror attacks in Saudi Arabia.

In late May, 22 people died in the Saudi oil city of Khobar in a standoff that ended with Saudi troops storming the residential compound where militants had taken more than 200 people hostage. (Full story)

Three of the hostage-takers were allowed to escape after they threatened to kill more of their captives.

A claim of responsibility for the assault was later posted on an Islamic Web site from the Jerusalem Brigade, a group Saudi officials said they believe is linked to al Qaeda.

The statement on the Web site said the violence was intended to punish the Saudi kingdom for its oil dealings with the United States.

Along with the statement was an audio recording attributed to Abdel Aziz Muqrin, identified by Saudi authorities as the country's top al Qaeda figure and at the top of the kingdom's most-wanted list.

The person claiming to be Mugrin called his group "al Qaeda in the Arab peninsula."

Muqrin and other suspected al Qaeda operatives have used the term "Arab peninsula" to refer to Saudi Arabia, whose government they want to overthrow.

CNN's Caroline Faraj and Hayat Mongodin contributed to this report.

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