The U.S. State Department has issued a new travel warning for Saudi Arabia, replacing a travel warning that was previously issued July 27, 2016.
The State Department said it issued the warning due to continuing threats from terrorist groups, including ISIS and its affiliates, who have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and significant religious sites, and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Western travelers.
Additionally, violence from the conflict in Yemen has spilled over the border on a number of occasions, the State Department said. According to Saudi media outlets, since March 2015 more than 40,000 projectiles have been launched into Saudi territory from Yemen, including at least 30 missiles. The State Department has restricted U.S. government personnel and their families from traveling within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border, including the cities of Jizan and Najran; Qatif in the Eastern province and its suburbs, including Awamiyah; and Hofuf and its suburbs in the al Hasa governorate.
Travelers are also advised to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate them in an emergency. They can also contact the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia located at Abdullah Ibn Huthafah Al-Sahmi Street, Diplomatic Quarter, at +966 11 488 3800, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The after-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +966 11 488 3800.
The warning follows a Worldwide Caution on travel, which the State Department issued earlier this month.
“As terrorist attacks, political upheaval, and violence often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling,” the State Department said on its website at the time.