Foreign travel advice

Saudi Arabia

Terrorism

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia. The main threat is from Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL). Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Opportunistic attacks on Saudi or western targets are also possible. You should be vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities.

The Saudi security forces have successfully disrupted a number of attack plots, but the scale of extremist activity is significant and attacks continue to take place.

Be especially vigilant during periods of religious significance (including the holy month of Ramadan) and public holidays; terrorist groups sometimes call for attacks at these times. Terrorists carried out several attacks in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan in 2016.

There are posts on jihadist websites and social media encouraging attacks against British, western and other interests, including teachers, schools, oil workers, residential compounds, military, transport and aviation interests, as well as crowded places, including restaurants, hotels, shopping centres and mosques. Further attacks are likely.

If you’re living in Saudi Arabia, you should regularly review and make sure you’re satisfied with the security measures provided by the management and local authorities at the residential compound where you live, the place where you work and the school where your children study.

On 7 October 2017, two Saudi guards were shot dead and three others injured when a man drove up to the gate of the royal palace in Jeddah and began shooting. On 5 October, two suspected terrorists were killed during a security operation which took place across three sites in Riyadh.

Since May 2017, there have been 10 attacks in Qatif, Eastern Province. Most of these have taken place in and around Al Musarawa village in Al-Awamiya. They have included shootings by gunmen as well as the use of rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and explosive devices. The majority of those targeted have been members of the Saudi security forces. Saudi security forces have conducted a number of security operations against suspected terrorists in the area.

On 23 June 2017, Saudi security forces disrupted an imminent terrorist attack targeting the Grand Mosque in Makkah. During the security operation, which took place at one site in Jeddah and 2 sites in Makkah, a suicide bomber injured 11 people, including 5 members of the security forces.

On 7 January 2017, 2 suspected terrorists were shot dead by police in the Yasmeen district of Riyadh. One police officer was injured during the exchange of gunfire.

On 4 July 2016, 4 suspected suicide bombers were killed, in separate incidents. One detonated a device near the US Consulate in Jeddah. Another 2 detonated a device at a mosque in Qatif, Eastern Province. A fourth detonated a device when intercepted by police officers close to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah; 4 police officers were killed and a number of others injured.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.