‘Where are the Americans?’ attackers yelled before siege
December 7, 2004
JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia – The militants stormed into the compound’s inner courtyard, firing their guns from behind trees, bursting into offices and shouting: “Where are the Americans? Where are the Americans?”
Lying in hospital beds, wounded U.S. consulate workers provided new details Tuesday about an attack that killed nine, injured at least 10 and showed America’s continued vulnerability to terrorist groups capable of conducting sophisticated surveillance, on even the most heavily guarded sites.
The militants “clearly understood how cars entered the compound, and they were conducting surveillance,” U.S. Ambassador James C. Oberwetter said.
He contended security measures had largely worked because the attackers’ car could not get past the consulate gate, forcing them to enter the grounds on foot. The attackers also never made it to the main consulate buildings, where most Americans worked.
Still, as Oberwetter offered condolences to the families of five slain consulate workers, he said, “the events of yesterday show the need for improvement. We will examine what additional steps need to be taken.”
State Department spokesman Adam Ereli warned there could be more attacks in Saudi Arabia.