First major militant assault in Saudi Arabia

Militants stormed the heavily fortified U.S. consulate in Jeddah in a brazen raid Monday and 12 people died in gunbattles before security forces regained control.

It was the first major militant assault in &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Saudi Arabia since May and the first against a Western diplomatic mission.

The bloodshed in the Red Sea port city indicated that the fight against Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in the world's biggest oil exporter is far from over.

Saudi security officials said four of their men died in the assault. Security forces killed three attackers and wounded two, who were then captured, the Interior Ministry said, says ABC News.

According to the Bloomberg, the U.S. State Department, while expressing condolences for those killed, described the failure of the attackers to get farther than the consulate's initial security perimeter as evidence of enhanced U.S. protection procedures. "Chalk one up for us against the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>terrorists," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said in Washington.

In Riyadh, US embassy spokeswoman Carol Kalin said four of the five consular employees killed held administrative jobs, and one was a private contract guard on the consulate's payroll.

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